The Holiday season is a wonderful time of buying gifts for family and friends, and stretching those limits on our credit cards. It can also be time of great stress for many. Did you know there are several studies that point to a higher level of happiness when giving to charitable causes? Giving has been proven to be good for your self-esteem. The joy of sharing, of caring.
Americans will spend approximate $800 a month during the Holiday season – more than in any other month. The economy depends on this, and it’s encouraged with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
A Pew study reported in “The Atlantic, an article by Bourree Lam” adds that the high amount of spending during the holiday causes stress in 46% of people in the study.
“As stressful as holiday gift giving can be, it might be a socially enforced tradition precisely because it makes people feel good in the end,” advises Lam. “Psychologists have argued gift giving might benefit the giver more than the gift receiver, and results in important non-material emotional gains. Another study found that spending money on others results in more happiness than spending on oneself.”
A joint study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School found “…that people who donated as little as $5 to a worthy cause were happier than those who spent money on themselves.” Further, “…those who donate their time or money to charities are significantly more likely to report being very happy with their lives than those who don’t.”
“Giving improves our self-esteem — it can actually make us feel better about ourselves,” explains Golden Gate University marketing professor Michal Ann Strahilevitz, PhD, who researches the psychology of charitable giving.
Think about a time you gave your time or money to a good cause, one that helped someone in need. Ask yourself, did you feel a sense of joy?
The United Way of Hunterdon County’s Holiday Hands program matches gift givers with a member of the community less fortunate. Something as simple as a gift card will give make the holidays special for a family. Certainly, the receiver of the gift will find something to smile about, but maybe you will feel that same… joy.