Last week I posted 31 activities to help you enjoy simple pleasures. Today’s activity is to give something away. Why do I consider giving something away a simple pleasure?
Because the act of being generous has all sorts of short and long-term benefits, both to the giver and to society at large.
What do I mean by acts of generosity?
Things like: Volunteering. Donating to charity. Helping a friend or neighbor. Going out of one’s way to assist a coworker. Tipping generously rather than stingily. Giving presents with joy rather than obligation. Random acts of kindness. Being quick to praise another’s accomplishments. Giving free products or services to customers.
Why are such things good for us? Studies show that being generous can:
- Reduce stress
- Improve your mood
- Make you feel good about yourself
- Lead to a greater likelihood of success (because generosity trumps selfishness in any social or work-related arena)
Also, studies show that those who make a habit of giving to others:
- Have lower blood pressure
- Live longer
- Are more satisfied with their life
- Find more satisfaction in their work
- Have stronger marriages
- Are less likely to feel depressed
Pretty clear, right? Developing a habit of generosity is good for the soul.
Unfortunately, despite its benefits, generosity is not necessarily easy. We must fight against our society’s every-man-for-himself, self -indulgent attitudes, and the high value many were taught to place on frugalness.
For most of us, a generous mindset requires intentionality, particularly in those areas we are least prone to be generous. Where do you struggle most with generosity?
- Giving your time?
- Donating you hard-earned money?
- Giving gifts?
- A willingness to give your stuff away, or sell it for less than it might be worth, in order to benefit others?
- Making the effort to speak encouragement and praise to others?
I hope that you will choose generosity today. What can you give away that will benefit someone else?
You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. — John Bunyan