“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ― Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank
Anne Frank was a wise woman considering her situation. But she was correct, you don’t become poor by giving, so what is stopping you? Did you know that doing good, in ways big or small, not only feels good but also does us good? For example, research has shown that volunteering has many well-being-boosting and depression-lowering benefits. Volunteering has a sense of meaning and purpose that often accompanies selfless behavior. When it comes to spending money, according to research, spending it on others increases our happiness compared to when we spend it on ourselves.
Research also shows that donating money to charitable organizations activates the same regions of the brain that respond to monetary rewards or sex. The small intent and commitment to generosity can stimulate neural change and make people happier.
So, how can you help others to help yourself?
First of all, you need to find your passion. It’s not about how much you give but about you much you love doing it or how much love you put into it. You don’t have to try and choose the right thing, but decide what is right for you. Whether this is doing sporting challenges and raising money, volunteering at a dog’s home for one hour a week or studying for a nursing education degree – do whatever it is that fits around your life, suits your goals and makes you feel good.
Next, you should recognize how valuable your time is and that the gift of time is often more valuable to the receiver and more satisfying for the giver than the gift of money. We don’t all have the same amount of money, but we all do have time on our hands, and can give some of this time to help others—whether that means we devote our lifetimes to service or give a few hours each day or a few days a year.
Be proactive. Don’t feel guilt-tripped into giving such as when friends ask you to donate to their fundraisers. Set aside some time and think about the causes that mean something to you and giving to them will make you feel good. Feeling guilt-tripped into doing it will only put you off in the future, and that’s no good for anyone.
Ultimately you need to find the approach that suits you. When you do this, then the more you will give, the more you will stand to gain purpose, meaning, and happiness—all of the things that we humans look for in life but are so hard to find.
There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” For centuries, the greatest thinkers have suggested the same thing: Happiness is found in helping others.