As the old saying goes, ‘giving is better than receiving’ and charitable giving platform Investors in Community has teamed up with a leading psychologist to find out why.
Giving to charity can improve life satisfaction, make us happier, boost mental well being and provide a number of hidden health benefits, including reducing blood pressure and longer life expectancy.
That’s according to author and psychologist Dr Phil Parker, who has partnered with Investors in Community, to highlight how giving, either through a financial donation or act of volunteering, can make us far happier than receiving a gift ourselves, and has the potential to make us healthier at the same time.
Dr Parker commented:
“There’s been lots of debate around the subject of giving versus receiving gifts, and why our motivations to ‘give’ are often far stronger. Some believe humans are driven by a deep need to cooperate and help others - motivated by an ‘inequality aversion’, a powerful feeling, making us uncomfortable when others don’t have what we have.”
Giving activates an important part of our brain responsible for managing motivation and rewards, called the Striatum and is linked to the release of oxytocin, a chemical present during positive social interactions.
Dr Parker continued:
“Recently, every aspect of our society has been under pressure and there have been fantastic acts of giving and volunteering to help support those most in need. Studies show that these kinds of acts of generosity release the feel-good hormone oxytocin in the human brain, suggesting that giving really is better than receiving.
“Higher oxytocin levels have been closely linked with lower blood pressure and heart rates, and because high blood pressure is a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease, it may be one of the reasons why giving has been found to be linked to living longer.”
Phil Webb, founder and managing director of Investors in Community, a platform designed to connect individuals, businesses and charities, added:
“We’ve seen a real surge in volunteering efforts and charitable donations recently, indicating that as a nation we’re far more inclined to give - either our time or money - to help others and we’re pleased to see that those involved in such generosity might also benefit from a much needed morale boost in the form of oxytocin.
“The positive feeling it creates has the potential to be contagious too. Studies suggest that happiness - one of the main repercussions of giving - can spread, with one survey reporting that 77 per cent of those who made donations to nonprofits did so because they were influenced by someone they knew well.
"Similarly, a report released last week by the Edelman Trust, highlighted how in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, 90 per cent of us want brands to partner with government and relief agencies to help address the crisis – indicating just how important it is for businesses to take giving seriously.”
Investors in Community has recently launched a patron membership scheme, designed to help corporates and large organisations enhance their profile, deliver important messages around CSR and harness community spirit within their organisation. To find out more visit: https://investorsincommunity.org/general/home