Even though giving gifts can be pretty challenging during the holiday season, there are scientific studies to prove that giving is actually good for your health. A study by the Harvard Business School revealed that people who gave money to others felt better than if they kept the money for themselves. Jorge Moll discovered in one of his 2006 studies that giving actually has a positive effect on our brains. When we donate money or give gifts to those we love, the part of the brain that is associated with pleasurable experiences is activated, which is part of what motivates us to keep doing good. This not only has a positive effect on families and relationships, but on communities at large.
A University of California Berkeley study also reveals that senior citizens who volunteered reduced their chances of dying in the next five years by 44% as opposed to elderly individuals who didn’t volunteer, even if those who didn’t volunteer took generally good care of their health and eliminated negative lifestyle habits like smoking, refer also to Jorge’s study.
There are even studies that show that when we are generous to others, we are more likely to see that generosity returned to us, even if it doesn’t come from the person we originally showed kindness to. These experiences promote mental health and a sense of trust and security within families and communities says Jorge.
Jorge Moll is a neuroscientist and the director and president of D’Or Institute for Research and Education’s (IDOR) governing board. He has done several studies during his professional career concerning the benefits of altruism (http://www.jorgemoll.com.br/). His work as a result of experiments and being the research and education head of IDOR’s cognitive neuroscience unit and neuroinformatics workgroup has led him to make significant breakthroughs in the way that people perceive kindness and the direct effects it has on the mind and body.