It’s about that time of year. The weather is cooling down, the hot chocolate is brewing and the gifts are piling up beneath the Christmas tree. It’s the season of giving and you’re likely expecting to receive at least a couple of gifts yourself. But the only feeling that’s better than receiving a present is the feeling of giving back to others.
While it’s a no-brainer that you feel good when you’re generous, we often underestimate the benefits of giving. Giving has the potential to strengthen relationships and make both the giver and the receiver feel better about themselves, in the long run. That said, below we’ve outlined 5 benefits of gift-giving.
1. Increased Happiness
When someone you love unwraps a gift you chose just for them, it can be one of the most fulfilling feelings in the world. This makes sense, given that research has shown that gift-giving results in the release of pleasure chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine in your brain.
This is part of the reason why you shouldn’t limit yourself to gift-giving for birthdays or during the holiday season. Each of those occasions makes for great excuses to give back, but if you want to feel more fulfilled and happier year-round, then consider making generosity a daily habit.
2. Reduced Stress
Sometimes, when you’re feeling anxious, the perfect solution can be to do something nice for someone else. In fact, studies show that the act of giving lowers blood pressure and stress levels. That means that when you present someone with a heartfelt gift, you get just as much value from the gesture as they do.
3. Stronger Relationships
It’s no surprise that gift-giving has the power to strengthen relationships. After all, when you present someone you care about with a thoughtful present, it shows them that you care. There’s a reason why gift-giving is considered a love language: because gifts have the ability to express emotions that words sometimes cannot do justice.
4. More Confidence
In the long run, since gift-giving makes you happier while improving your relationships, you will also become more confident. Studies even show that those who choose to give have higher levels of self-esteem compared to those that don’t. This only makes sense, since you have to be secure in yourself to express your feelings and that’s exactly what a gift is: an expression of how you feel about someone.
5. Increased Gratitude
Gift-giving is one of the most effective ways to express gratitude for special people in your life. Additionally, when you regularly practice gratitude, it improves your sense of well-being. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude improves your health and boosts positive emotions.
The Power of Random Acts of Kindness
While gift-giving comes naturally during the holiday season, generosity is something that can be practiced anytime. By engaging in random acts of kindness year-round, you change your life and the lives of others around you for the better.
Some ideas for random acts of kindness include:
- Hold the door open for someone
- Walk a neighbor’s dog
- Bake cookies for a loved one
- Pay for a friend’s lunch
- Bring your coworkers donuts
- Volunteer at a food bank or a homeless shelter
- Take your family on a surprise day trip
- Buy flowers for a loved one
To accompany a generous gesture, these random acts of kindness cards make for a great finishing touch. Simply print out the card below and attach it to a gift or hand it to the recipient of your gesture to spread the love.
Whether it’s for a birthday, the holiday season, or otherwise, there’s never a wrong time to give back to others. After all, gift-giving is a great way to improve your sense of happiness and well-being, while also putting a smile on the face of someone else. To learn more about the benefits of giving, the folks at Redbubble created the infographic below.