Giving Back this Holiday Season and Your Brain
You know that phrase, “It’s better to give than receive”? Well as it turns out, it really is better, especially for your brain. Giving back, whether donating or volunteering helps to boost happiness in the brain by releasing neurochemicals feelings of pleasure.
The Cleveland Clinic notes that scientists, examining the functional MRIs of subjects who gave to charities, discovered that giving back stimulates the mesolimbic pathway, which is the reward center in the brain. That will release endorphins, producing a feeling that is often dubbed the “helper’s high.”
Here’s four ideas of ways you can give back this year.
- Animal Shelter
- Community Center
- Thank your service members
- Random acts of kindness
- Animal Shelter.Sometimes we forget about our furry friends, but they need help, too! So, just how can we help the animals? Donate some extra blankets you have on hand, donate cat or dog food, or donate your lap! Animal shelters are always looking for volunteers, and spending time with petshas its benefits for you, too!
- Community Center.Find ways to give back through a local Community Center. Often times, Community Centers will have organized events and opportunities such as food drives, visits to senior homes, cleaning up in the community, Holiday gifts for children of families in need and many more options to get involved and also foster new relationships while giving back.
- Thank your service members.Around the holidays, you probably get a few extra days off of work. However, your local firefighters, police officers, doctors, and nurses are always working and at the ready to help others. Now is your chance to thank these people for all that they do to keep the community safe. There are so many options to thank these service members. Occasionally, you may see a police officer grabbing a bite to eat. If you can, pick up their bill. Drop off a care package of snacks and other goodies at the local fire station. A simple verbal "thank you" to your doctor means more than you know. These people give so much, it's time we give back!
- Random acts of kindness.Spend your day finding random acts of kindness to perform. Perhaps you're going for a walk and see a parking meter about to expire. Spare some change and give them more time on the meter. That person's day will be turned around! Maybe you're getting your morning coffee, and there's someone behind you in line. Tell the cashier you want to pay for their coffee also. Little acts of kindness can have huge impacts.
So, there you have it! Just a few of the many ways you can give back to the community. Keep in mind, although the holidays are about helping others and giving back, we should keep this mindset throughout the whole year. We leave you with a quote by Anne Frank, "No one has ever become poor by giving."
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