Helper’s high? Cuddle hormone? These are some of the benefits to gifting and now the science shows why they are so good for you. What if by giving gifts to others you were in fact helping yourself?

Like us you have probably wanted to give more of yourself but have gotten tied down with other things. Helping & giving to others isn’t always easy. It takes time and money from you and fitting it your busy schedule is never easy.

The science now says it’s a win-win, so help others and help yourself. 

Giving Feels Good – But Why?

It comes naturally and its fulfilling but understanding the science behind it has taken some time. Let’s face it, as humans we gravitate stronger toward win-win scenarios. That’s exactly what giving provides us. When we positively affect someone else’s life as well as our own, we are energized and motivated.

The Science

Giving gifts makes you happier and the science proves it. Happiness expert Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, saw people’s happiness lift when they were asked to perform five acts of kindness each week for six weeks.

Giving more to others than you give yourself makes you feel better about the world around you and your role in it.

Preventative medicine professor at Stony Brook University, Stephen Post, wrote a book on giving back and why it’s beneficial to everyone. “Why good things happen to good people” explores gift giving through many facets of life and how it works for us. His study shows that giving back increases health benefits for people with chronic illnesses.

But specifically what is making us feel better? Have you heard of helper’s high?

The Hormones

Studies show when a person engages in giving it prompts the release of 2 key hormones:

  • The ‘cuddle hormone’Oxytocin creates intimacy, trust, and builds healthy relationships. It’s released by men and women during orgasm, and by mothers during childbirth and breastfeeding. Both experience heightened levels in response to receiving and giving
  • The “feel good” hormoneEndorphins are morphine-like chemicals produced by the body that help diminish pain while triggering positive feelings. They’re sometimes referred to as the brain’s “feel-good” chemicals, and are the body’s natural painkillers.

If you are looking for a win-win-win, we say “give flowers”

A Harvard study showed patients who looked at flowers first thing in the morning felt more energetic and happier than normal. They were also more compassionate and felt less anxious.