Ever heard the one about giving not receiving?

Posted by PR Neom

Ever heard the one about giving not receiving?

Hands up, who doesn't love that excited feeling you get inside when you know the gift you've bought your friend, family member or other half is something you just know they'll adore?

It’s an age-old adage that’s been drummed into us since we were little and parents wanted to remind us that Christmas and birthday’s weren’t just about the receiving of presents, but the giving too. While we probably chalked it up as a ‘fair’s fair’ tactic with age, wisdom and experience on our side, the saying has more clout. Because hands up, who doesn’t love that excited feeling you get inside when you know the gift you’ve bought your friend, family member or other half is something you just know they’ll adore. It’s the same when you donate to a worthy cause or give money to charity. Seeing someone else happy innately makes us feel good and it’s something that’s been proven by science.

A study in the Association for Psychological Science found that material and monetary values such as a paycheck don’t make us as happy as it can be compared to others in a similar situation, whereas an act like donating to charity is treated as a unique event that can bring inner satisfaction and happiness. It also strengthens our sense of connection and community.

“It may be surprising but helping and being kind and giving to others doesn’t just benefit the receiver but the giver too as it can activate the feel-good ‘reward’ centre in our brain,” explains Vanessa King, author of 10 Keys to Happier Living. “We also know from scientific research that if we are happier, we are more likely to help others, so it’s a ‘virtuous circle’ - giving can increase our happiness and if we feel happy we are more likely to help others! I believe it’s evolved as a form of ’social glue’. Human beings are social creatures, we’ve evolved to live in social groups and we need to feel connected to others for both psychological and physical wellbeing. If we help each other out and are kind - those groups (aka communities, societies) are nicer and safer to be part of. Helping others can also bring meaning into our lives and take our mind of our own worries for a bit.”

It’s one reason why for many, the festivities bring such glad tidings as it’s a time to unleash your generous side at full throttle. It’s also a harsh reminder that not everyone is as fortunate. We're switching the traditional chocolate filled advent calendar for the amazing Advent of Change advent calendar (available from adventofchange.org and John Lewis/Waitrose). With three variations on offer, including a children’s version, the calendars cost between £16.95 and £29.95 and each day, either 50p or £1 gets donated to the charity inside the door on your behalf. Helping 24 different charities, what better feeling is there to wake up knowing that you’ve got a month of donations to uncover.

Want to keep the good vibes going all year? Action for Happiness has downloadable monthly online calendars that contain a message of positivity each day. Inspired by their own version of alternative advent calendar that suggested small acts of kindness to carry out each day it was so popular when it launched that the website crashed thanks to over two million downloads in the first couple of days.

As a result, they’ve now included a monthly calendar on the site. Ensure that you check in with your happy place on a day-to-day basis, make it your New Year’s Resolution to download it every month.