Our Key To Happiness: Generosity

It’s abundantly clear from a number of studies that people who live generous lives also live happier lives,” states Stephen Post, bio ethicist, Case Western Reserve University.

Positive psychology researchers conclude giving is the key to happiness. Gifting someone or donating to charity brings us more happiness than spending money on fruitless things for ourselves.

Giving strengthens family relationships and friendships and makes our lives and the lives of others easier and more pleasant.

Choose to become aware of how you can make someone’s day easier and happier. How can you be good to the people in your life? I challenge you to be the first to ask others, “How can I help you?”

During our difficult economic times it’s important that we resist the temptation to hold on to what we have out of fear or greed and ignore the needs of others.  It’s important we change our thoughts of  ”I don’t have enough” to “I have plenty to share.” 

We can also step up our practice of generosity by giving something away everyday. It will get us in the habit of giving. The more we give the richer we become.  Soon it becomes second nature. Generosity becomes who we are. Live to give. Giving makes us happy and feeling free.

Reflect on your life and recall what you’ve been given, especially what you appreciate and value the most. How has the generosity of others of your parents or primary caretakers, friends, co-workers, neighbors, society and other family members affected your life?

Replay in your mind the memories, moments and feelings of receiving and dwell on them. Do you see how well-off you are? We am responsible for what we experience in life. If you want to experience more happiness become a giver.

The following are examples of ways you can give to others daily:

Visit the elderly.
Send a postcard to a friend.
Bring a treat to work.
Invite a friend to dinner, you pay.
Purchase a book or music for a friend.
Give a helping hand.
Give blood.
Open a door for someone.
Take food to your local food pantry.
Pay the bill for the person in line behind you.
Give away what you no longer need.
Give away something you treasure.
Give your time.
Give affection.
Give the gift of listening and understanding.
Give your knowledge.
Give patience.
Share your skills.
Give encouragement.
Give forgiveness.
Give love.
Share joy.
Give your time.
Do an act of kindness, remain anonymous.

Do not give because you want acceptance, love or admiration. Do not give in order to gain recognition and power. Do not give expecting to be thanked. Learn to give out of love, out of joy and because you believe you have more than enough to share. 

Give without expectations of getting something in return. Never pass up an opportunity to help or give to another. A life of kindness and generosity is a life well lived.  

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Neil December 2, 2008, 9:23 am

    We live in a very selfish society, your posts reminds me that there is more to life than ‘me’. Your final words really struck a cord and I thought about all the opportunities to give that I’ve missed today. I try to be mindful of others, but sometimes I’m too inward focused.

    Today I’m going to give out of Joy! Thank you.

  • Julie March 5, 2009, 12:40 pm

    Hi, Tess. This is terrific, just wonderful.

    My sister is teacher her daughter the value of giving in a way I’d not seen before. Sis was swimming in niece’s clutter of toys, dolls, books, stuff stuff stuff. So the rule was made: no more new things unless an equal number of items are given away. Some things my niece has learned from this, not the least being that giving feels great AND it becomes habit after just a very short time.

    As for me? …I’m much like Neil, very inward focused. I’d like to be able to turn that on and off effortlessly, but until I do I take comfort in your words: give affection, give love, share joy. Those I CAN do, effortlessly. Thank you, Tess.

    Julie’s last blog post..In Others’ Words

  • Ashesela March 8, 2010, 6:51 pm

    What a wonderful post!


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