It is better to give to then receive. We have all heard that popular saying before, but what does it really mean? The power of giving is in helping someone have a better day. Its an act of kindness, that feel good moment you experience commonly known as a “helper’s high” when your feel good, oxytocin hormones get released. According to Boston College researchers, people who help out others have had neural responses on their MRI’s. In their studies they found that people that have chronic pain and depression who volunteer experience a decrease in their symptoms after such activities have taken place. That’s powerful.
When we are generous to others we are actually being generous to ourselves. Giving is infectious. Have you ever noticed that when you bring someone a coffee or help an elderly neighbor take out their garbage, you feel more positive for the rest of the day? I have. Your troubles seem lighter and you can tackle the best of issues with an increased thread of optimism.
Where does the power of the universe come into play here? Could there be a correlation between giving to others and the positive effect the universe may have on your life? Absolutely. The universe is an infinite plane of energy swirling around us everyday. It makes perfect sense that when you give to someone, or help them out in some way, the universe is taking that energy and giving it back to you, but do not give to get. Expecting something in return surely never works. Know that by truly giving selflessly, you are creating a positive karmic flow that will surely have a profound effect on your life.
If you look at the most successful people in the world, they all have one thing in common, they give back. Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, and Barron Hilton all are mega philanthropists. Warren Buffett started an organization called givingpledge.org where some the wealthiest people around the world write pledge letters to help others in need whether it be an organization or a certain group of individuals. Some of the donors involved include Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook, Richard Branson from Virgin, and Bill and Karen Ackerman, CEO and founder of Pershing Square Capital Management. They have truly harnessed what the power of giving means. At one point in all of their lives, someone helped them out, or believed in them enough to help them achieve success and they, in turn have given back. That’s what it is all about. When someone helps you, always remember to pay it forward.
So what if you don’t have deep pockets such as this group of wealthateers? There are hundreds of other ways to give back. Find a charity that you feel connected with and get involved. You can give a cash donation or donate your time at one of their local events. Lazarus House or one of the your local food pantries are always looking for volunteers, especially during the holiday season. Donate your children’s clothing to Catiescloset.org, a children’s charity who’s mission is to clothe homeless children in the Merrimack Valley to keep them in school and finish their educations. Volunteer as a children’s tutor or reading storytime at the library are other ways to give back. Donating your used items such as books and household items to organizations in need is also another way of giving. Why throw something out when it can be recycled and put to good use by a person in need. Even bringing gently used clothing to consignment shops is something I have done in the past. These are all examples of paying it forward in one way or another.
In the true spirit of giving this holiday season, I urge you all to try doing one random act of kindness a day, whether it be holding a door for someone, volunteering at your church, buying the person behind you in Dunkin Donuts drive thru their coffee, or even thanking a cashier after a purchase transaction and wishing them a good day. Record how you feel right after performing the act and for the rest of that day. At the end of the week, reflect on how you felt, and how many smiles your kindness inspired. As Ebenezer Scrooge said in A Christmas Carol: I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year. We should all do the same.
Cheryl Hajjar is a lifelong resident of the Merrimack Valley. She keeps busy by fulfilling her duties as a mother to her young son. She is an entrepreneur and the CEO of Indigo Magic, an interactive children’s company. One of her passions is music, songwriting and classical piano which she incorporates into all areas of her life. You can email her at email@example.com