If you’re like many people, you may not ever give a second thought as to why you enjoy giving back to others. Maybe it feels like a natural thing to do; something that you don’t even need to consciously consider. From a purely logical perspective, the idea of giving something to someone else free may seem like an unfair deal. Thankfully, humans aren’t purely logical beings, and we understand that giving of ourselves to someone else is something we can feel good about.
Why does donating to others make us feel good? For some people, the reason is very well defined, and for others, the answer is a bit unclear. There are many reasons why giving back to others can make the giver feel good. Donating time and energy to people who need help is a wonderful part of our physiology that makes us altruistic by nature. We’re going to dive a little deeper into the reasons why we feel good when we give back to better understand where these feelings come from and how we can continue to benefit from them.
Biological Need To Give Back
Altruism as a concept isn’t a new idea and it isn’t something that goes against human nature—in fact, it’s a part of us and has been there since the very beginning. Think about the feeling you get after you eat a healthy meal or choose to exercise instead of lying around all day. You get that happy feeling because your brain recognizes what you just did was good for your body, and it wants you to do it again in the future. This biological need to give back exists in everyone—it’s just a matter of how much you embrace it.
One of the biggest reasons donating to others makes us feel good is because of the stress-relieving properties of charity work and altruism. Over and over, many different studies show us that giving back to others is a great form of stress relief. This can come in different forms for different people. Some people get relief from taking some time to not worry about their own problems in favor of taking care of others. Some people experience less stress when they do work they believe has a real purpose rather than slaving away for money or fame. Being able to relieve stress through donating time, energy, or items to people who need them is one of the most direct ways that giving back makes us feel good.
If you’ve ever had to pull yourself out of an emotional slump, you probably already understand the importance of gratitude and recognizing the things you’re grateful for. Practicing gratitude can be difficult for some people, however, charity work such as donating or volunteering is a great way to start seeing the things you should be grateful for every day. Meeting people you want to help can give you a new sense of appreciation and gratitude for the things you already have rather than making you focus on everything you wish you had.
Enacting Visible Change
As large as our world is, and with the vast amount of people that inhabit it, it can sometimes be difficult to feel like you make a real impact. It’s easy to think of yourself as a small fish in a gigantic pond. One of the best things about giving back to others through donations or volunteer work is that you get to see how your efforts make an impact in others’ lives. Witnessing visible changes you were a part of is vital to maintaining a sense of purpose and identity. Remember that no one is inconsequential—even a small difference is still a difference.
Connecting To Others
While it’s in our human nature to give back to others, it’s also human nature to be social and connect with other people. No matter how introverted you are or how much of a loner you seem to be, humans crave social interaction. More than just that— humans crave meaningful social interaction. By donating your time and effort towards helping other people, you can make real connections with new people who share similar interests and goals with you. When you have a way to stay connected to the people and community around you, you’ll feel a lot better about yourself and your place in the world.
Giving is Better Than Receiving
It’s a lesson that we don’t fully start to understand until we get older. Receiving gifts and presents as a young child feels incredible, most likely because children have very little that’s actually “theirs.” However, as you grow up, you start to realize having more and more possessions won’t make you happy—but helping others definitely can. Part of why donating and charity work feels so good is because we recognize giving of ourselves is a good use of our time and effort.
Finding a Purpose
We’ve mentioned it a few times already, but a very common reason why people desire to give back to others and donate things is because it provides a sense of purpose that makes us feel more connected to others and to ourselves. The feeling of listlessness that comes from having no drive or purpose is scary; it puts into perspective how important it is to have something to believe in and fight for. Donating to others is a purpose many people get behind because it provides the important feeling of using your time in this world effectively.
Giving back can provide a lot of benefits to the giver as well as the receiver. Here at GreenDrop we want everyone to understand how good it can feel to know you’re making a real difference in the world. If you have a donation for The American Red Cross charity or any of our other charity partners, we’ll be glad to help you make the most impact possible.
The ideas that fuel minimalism have been around a lot longer than many people think. Though we tend to imagine that the desire to minimize our world is a relatively new one, humans have been having the same issues with overconsumption and hoarding for a long time. The concept of minimalism can be confusing for some people, especially when society always tells us that we should constantly strive for more, more, more. Changing this ingrained mindset is a challenge that we all can choose to face, but it can be difficult when you don’t fully understand the alternative.
You’re not likely to find a perfectly detailed explanation for how to become a minimalist. You’ll need to find out for yourself what adopting this type of lifestyle means for you. To get you started on the right path, we’ll look into understanding minimalism’s most important principles so that you have a better idea of what you need to do. Some of these will come to you much more easily than others, which isn’t a bad thing. Focus on what you can make work for yourself and your unique situation, and you’ll see much more success.
Determine Your Priorities
One of the biggest parts of adopting more of a minimalist lifestyle involves understanding your own priorities. What is it that you value? What do you believe that you are lacking, and why do you think you currently lack it? What are your reasons for wanting to be a minimalist besides just wanting to clean up a little? When you take the time to lay out what you want to prioritize in your life, the steps you need to take become a little bit clearer. If maintaining good mental health is a priority for you, you can start to take steps to achieve that, such as meditating in the morning or reading before bed. Once you know your priorities, you can use them to guide your journey toward minimalism.
Never Buy Something Without a Reason
Being a minimalist means fighting your urge for overconsumption. That doesn’t mean that you need to be completely basic and give up all your earthly possessions. However, it’s easy to consume more and more things unconsciously until it becomes a problem, so you need to be more aware of what you consume. If you want to be a minimalist, you don’t have to give up ever buying something new again, but you do need to be more intentional with your purchases. Analyze the reason you want to buy a specific item, and match that reasoning against your personal priorities. If the item doesn’t help you reach your goals in some way, you most likely don’t really need it.
Find Value in Other Places Besides Possessions
When we try to understand minimalism’s most important principles, we start to look at all our possessions and how they affect us. For many people, the accumulation of possessions is a huge part of their lives. To understand minimalism, you must learn to put your value in other things. Many find value in relationships with other people, while others find it in self-reflection. Rather than another possession to clutter up your shelves, consider how much more a meaningful experience would impact you. There’s isn’t anything inherently wrong with finding value in possessions, but they shouldn’t be your only source of self-worth.
More Is Not Always Better
Perhaps one of the most important principles—and one of the more difficult ones to adopt—is that you don’t always need to strive for more. Our culture reinforces the idea that more is better, and you should always strive to gain more than you have. However, this kind of thinking can be dangerous if you let it go unchecked. At what point do you have enough? If you never feel like you have enough and always need more, how can you ever enjoy the things you do have? One of the most common things we always think we need more of is money, but money is simply a means to an end. The money itself doesn’t make you happier, but it does give you the opportunity to make yourself happy. But if you have enough money to live a comfortable life, consider your reasoning before you start to strive for more.
Find Balance Between Beauty and Functionality
Minimalism is a concept that many people use to structure different aspects of their lives, whether that means their homes or their spending habits. Again, the purpose of minimalism is not to completely get rid of everything; you need to find a balance between what you want and what you need. In a design aspect, this means finding the balance between what is aesthetically pleasing and what is functional. You can still appreciate something for its aesthetic value and be a minimalist, as long as that thing improves your life in some way. You don’t need to live in stark white, empty rooms to be a minimalist. Find a balance that works for you.
Minimalism Is Different for Everyone
All the core tenets of minimalism are variable, depending on the person trying to adopt them. There is no one perfect way to be a minimalist; you simply need to strive to be happy without overconsuming or overworking yourself. The most basic principle of minimalism is the idea of living with fewer burdens on your shoulders. Whether those burdens are material things or mental clutter is up to the individual, but don’t let anyone tell you that you are doing minimalism wrong. Everyone has a different definition of what it means to be a minimalist. If what you’re doing makes you feel more content with yourself and your place in life, you’re doing it right.
Many people who try to switch to a minimalist way of life find a lot of success by removing unnecessary possessions from their homes. GreenDrop is here to support that way of thinking. Setting up a used clothing donation in Alexandria, VA, can be a simple and quick method for starting a transition toward minimalism. We’ll gladly take your extra possessions off your hands and put them to good use for others.
For all the talk of supporting our military veterans that one might hear, a disproportionally large number of vets struggle far more than they should. Homelessness is a widespread problem among a lot of veterans for a variety of reasons, none of which justify the issue. It’s so important that we remember the service these veterans performed for us while in the military and that we take care of them once they return to civilian life. Here are a few ways to support veterans struggling with homelessness that can enact real change in these people’s lives.
Challenge Your Thoughts
There is an unfortunate and harmful stigma that those without homes must endure on a daily basis. Many people are under the false pretense that people who struggle with homelessness are simply “lazy” or “should work harder.” Especially for veterans who struggle with homelessness, this idea is incredibly harmful and makes it more difficult to get out of that situation. If you find yourself having thoughts like these, we urge you to reexamine them and attempt to better understand the reality that these people go through.
Raise up Their Voices
While there are a number of communities and organizations that fight on behalf of veterans, those voices could always be louder. If civilians do not try and amplify the issues that veterans face, the voices of those struggling with homelessness could get drowned out and ignored. Contacting your local government and raising awareness of these issues is a great way to support veterans who struggle with homelessness. Reaching out to others who may not be aware of these issues can also help gather more support.
Choose Veterans To Hire
If you run a business of your own or are in a position to hire people for other roles, strongly consider hiring a veteran. Finding a job or starting a career is exponentially more difficult when you don’t have a home. Hiring a veteran can do so much to put them on a path to a better life. Even if that veteran is currently without a home, you should still consider them for the job, as that could be the starting point that they need to find a stable residence.
Donate What They Need
The problem of veteran homelessness isn’t one that we can fix overnight. While many people tackle the issue from different angles, it’s important that we support veterans in the present moment as well. Donations of clothing, food, and other essentials can help a lot in the short term. Even if you lack the time to support these veterans in a more active way, your donations can help make their lives easier while they work to get back on their feet.
If you’d like to do something that can help veterans today, consider a used clothing donation in Saratoga, VA, with GreenDrop. Your donation will be converted into funding for charities who provide resources and support for veterans. GreenDrop has a long history of supporting charities who serve veterans, and we plan on continuing that support for a long time.
If you’ve moved a lot in the past, you know how much of a hassle it can be and how much stress it can put you under. If you are about to move for the first time, you might have a lot of nerves building up about what could go wrong. It’s important to remember that moving is a difficult process for everyone, but it’s how you deal with the challenges that determine how easy or arduous it will be. Use some of these efficient moving tips to reduce stress during your move.
Plan for Eventual Hiccups
Your moving plan should begin with evaluating your new home. There are several issues that might pop up just when you start thinking you have everything down. Try to anticipate as many possible issues in advance as you can:
- Will your furniture fit through the doors?
- Are the utilities set up?
- What are your plans for the weather?
- Do you have storage available for what won’t fit?
The more you can predict, the better off you’ll be when one of those problems arises.
Pare Down the Items You’re Bringing
A useful tip to reduce moving stress is to give yourself less to move. Most people’s homes have a wide variety of things that the owners no longer need, want, or use anymore. Don’t waste your packing and moving time by trying to deal with these items. Toss or donate what you know you don’t use or need before you start to pack up and move. You’ll cut down on quite a few boxes the more efficient you can be with this step. You can easily donate these unwanted items to a GreenDrop near you or they can even come to your home and pick them up before you move out.
Take Care of Your Well-Being
Moving is a process that can feel like it takes over your life while you’re planning for it. Everything becomes about the move to the detriment of other aspects of your life. Make sure that you don’t put your own personal needs off to the side. It may seem selfish to take breaks when you should pack instead, but you’re bound to make mistakes if you try to do it while overly stressed. Take it easy when you need to and take frequent breaks; you’ll still have plenty of time to make it all work.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Assistance
Because we’re all aware of how much of an inconvenience moving can be, we don’t usually like to ask others for help. It feels like a personal task we should deal with on our own. However, getting help with your move can make it exponentially easier for yourself. Everyone knows how much of a hassle moving can be, and people who truly care about you will want to help make it easier.
To make your next move more convenient, consider a used clothing donation in Centerville, Virginia. GreenDrop can take a lot of items off your hands to make your moving experience simpler.
With another school year beginning for many students, back-to-school supplies are flying off the shelves at stores everywhere. When you buy those important supplies, though, give a thought to people who can’t provide their children with the supplies they need to succeed in school. School supplies can be prohibitively expensive for some people. Therefore, you can do a lot of good by giving a few supplies to those who need them. Here are some of the most needed school supplies to donate that will really make a difference.
All the supplies in the world aren’t very useful if a child can’t take them to school and bring them back home. A quality backpack can be so useful to a child who can’t afford one. It can last for multiple years of schooling if a student takes good care of it. This fact makes a backpack an extremely kind donation.
Sanitation in schools has never been more important, and not every school can provide these products when students most require them. Some of the most needed school supplies to donate nowadays are tissues, hand sanitizers, paper towels, and soap. You can do a lot to protect the children’s health by providing these sanitary essentials.
Notebooks, Folders, and Binders
Notetaking and organizing are two of the most important skills that children learn while in school. You can help facilitate these skills with products like folders, three-ring binders, and spiral notebooks. Every child needs these items, no matter what grade they may be in. These items make great donations, so be sure to pick up some extras for those in need.
Even in today’s world where we have calculators on our wireless phones, children still need to use dedicated calculators for schoolwork. Older students may need more advanced calculators for math subjects like algebra and calculus as well. Thus, it pays off to have them even when they have basic calculators on their phones. Advanced calculators can cost a bit more than normal ones, making them highly needed donations for schools.
Children grow up so quickly and often change sizes year to year. As they become older, they’ll need new clothes to start off the school year. If your children have outgrown their old school clothes, consider checking out GreenDrop and making a used clothing donation in Springfield or one of our other locations. Getting quality clothes that fit can help a child feel much more comfortable as they go back to school.