helping others can improve your wellbeing

How the act of ‘giving’ enhances your wellbeing

The act of giving creates a pattern of generosity that is likely to be reciprocated by others.

While growing up, we often hear about the importance of giving and helping others. But over time, we unwittingly find ourselves entangled in a web of competition, ambition, and our selfish needs over others’, leaving little or no room for compassion or empathy. In a bid to look out for ourselves, we forget about kindness and generosity.

Being kind to others doesn’t just make the world a better place, it also enhances your own wellbeing. When you give, you put others before you. Thus, you create a pattern of generosity that is likely to be reciprocated by others.

Studies indicate that the act of giving increases your happiness and enhances your wellbeing. Not only this, experts from the University of California, San Diego found that generosity transmits from person to person and spreads in communities, making the world a happier place to live. Referring to the act of giving, the paper also highlights that every person in a group can influence thousands, whether they know each other or not.

When you help others, you put others before you. It could be the exchange of gifts, lending money to a friend, feeding a stray, or donating to a charity. When you give, you are creating a pattern of generosity that is likely to be reciprocated by others. Let’s take a look at how the act of giving enhances your wellbeing and motivates you to become a better person.

You attract positivity

When you empathise with others, you strive to go out of your way to help them. You get a sense of satisfaction and inner-peace, as the act of giving makes you happy and grateful for what you have. And the calm you experience in giving is hard to find otherwise. You develop a humble attitude towards life that reflects in your behaviour. You also attract people who appreciate you because of who you are.

By giving, you promote positive ways of socialising and teamwork. For instance, a simple gift to your team at work can motivate them to perform better, while they mutually appreciate your gesture of rewarding them.

You become compassionate and responsible

If you find yourself in a situation that encourages you to donate, contribute, or give, never hesitate. See if you can give in some way or the other. For instance, many states in India suffered devastating floods in 2019. Several groups and NGOs arranged for rations, medical supplies, clothes and money, to help those stranded in the flooded regions. Many groups helped the state governments to set up relief camps where women, children, and senior citizens were given shelter. People across sectors and classes tried to give whatever they could to get relief for people affected by the flood.

By helping the unknown, you develop a certain responsibility towards the society in which you live. This act of giving not only builds your self-esteem but also makes you more compassionate towards society at large.

You build strong connections with others

Karina Arias of PIH Health’s Psychiatry and Behavioural Health Clinic says, “If you help a friend through a tough time or help a stranger solve a problem, you will feel a sense of purpose and will be aware of your own good fortune in relation to others.” When you give, you build a unique trust with a person or a community by sharing kindness with them. Your actions define your personality in a way that is celebrated by others. You establish a connection with everyone who is a witness to your actions.

Your life becomes richer

The act of giving makes you happy, which in turn triggers the release of endorphins and cortisol that can relieve you from stress and pain. The same works for those on the receiving end of your kindness too. On the other hand, when your brain registers the act of giving, it releases serotonin and dopamine, chemicals that channelise a positive feeling in your system often termed as helper’s high. It’s like receiving a reward from nature for doing good. And the more you do good for others, the richer your life becomes.


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