A well-known trope states that “Giving is receiving.” Scientific studies on giving to others, helping others, and happiness actually back this up.
“Feel for another Soul – whether it is an animal, or a human Soul – participate in their suffering, and feel for them. The minute you feel for them, and try to relieve it, you will experience a great joy.” – Dr. Pillai
Voluntary Giving Makes You Happier than Forced Giving
“Sri Ramalingam said the easiest way to get God’s Grace is not through meditation. It’s through helping other people, especially the poor people who are in need.” – Dr. Pillai
Economics researchers at the University of Oregon gave subjects accounts with $100 in them. Each subject was given one of three options: keep the money researchers gave them, give to a local food bank, or pay a mandatory “tax” on the $100. The tax went to the food bank, but it was mandatory, as opposed to the first group. Only a computer knew their choices, or which group they were in, and they were told their choices were anonymous.
Using functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) brain scanning, they determined that receiving the $100, taxation, and the choice to give lit up overlapping pleasure centers in the brain. Those who chose to donate to the food bank experienced more pleasure than those who were taxed (1).
A similar study noted that those who voluntarily gave to charities and individuals on a regular basis lit up those same pleasure centers the most. The change was more pronounced in a given instance of generocity in people who made it a regular practice.
Giving Makes You Happier than Receiving
“The fastest way to melt the heart of God is to feed a hungry person.” – Dr. Pillai
Well, maybe our original trope isn’t exactly true. Giving is not equal to receiving. It’s better, according to the following study
Researchers from the University of Zurich, and other places, also used a functional MRI device to measure current mood in people from two groups. All participants were given 25 Swiss francs, once per week, for a month. One group chose to spend the money on others. The other group agreed to spend it on themselves.
They started with a computer screen that showed different scenarios involving giving to friends and family. As the participants made decisions, a functional MRI machine was recording their (almost) real time mental states and brain activity
Both groups were surveyed after spending money on themselves or others. Those who gave to others scored much higher on the happiness scale.
In the initial Functional MRI tests, the group who chose to give to others were more generous. When members of this group chose to give, their tempero-parietal junction, a major altruism center, lit up more than when the other group made similar choices.
The tempero-parietal junction, in the case of the givers, was also more connected to the ventral striatum, one of the brain’s major reward centers.
The conscious decision to be more altruistic made people more likely to be generous, and the act of giving made them happier. (3)
Mentoring Heals the Mentor
“Compassion is just love. Compassion for other people, love, is the greatest transformational energy. There is no power greater than love. Compassionate people overflow with love.” – Dr. Pill
Alcoholics Anonymous members who help others beat their addiction experience lower levels of depression, according to a 1995 study in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Study participants who became mentors were also twice as likely to be sober a year later. (2)
How You Can Tap the Same Source of Happiness
“Compassion gives the highest intelligence possible, and it blurs the boundary between reality and illusion.” – Dr. Pillai
The Tripura Foundation is a nearly 100% volunteer-based organization that builds homes for the poor, feeds them, and teaches them proven accelerated learning techniques to improve their chances to be upwardly mobile, economically and spiritually.
- Phonemic Intelligence increases academic performance, emotional intelligence, good behavior, and self-esteem. It’s taught in schools on multiple continents, and at HoPE Learning Centers. You can sponsor a child for $10 USD per month.
- The HoPE for the Elderly Program provides impoverished elders in India with shelter, soap, food, clothing, and personal care items. If you donate $40+ USD per month for a year, you’ll receive the recipient’s photos and stories on a regular basis.
- Million Meals of HoPE provides food for the poorest of the poor. Every dollar you give will pay for at least five meals.
“This is the year-end. It is an appropriate time for gifting, and to remember God’s children who are in unfortunate situations in many countries across the world” – Dr. Pillai
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