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.