“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” (Winston Churchill)
Studies reveal that if you want to be more cheerful then become a giver, because givers are happier people than non-givers. Similarly, volunteers are more likely to be happier than non-volunteers and people who give are also less prone to sadness and depression than non-givers.
The difference in cheerfulness between givers and non-givers is not due to differences in their personal characteristics, income, circumstances or religion. Take two people who are identical in terms of their circumstances, social demographics, income and faith – one donates money and volunteers, while the other does not. The giver will be on average 11 percentage points more likely to be happier than the non-giver.
Giving is also known to lower stress hormones that cause unhappiness, as giving dramatically lower levels of the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine in our brains.
A number of studies have researched why giving leads to happiness, and the conclusion is that giving affects our brain chemistry and releases endorphins that produce feelings of happiness. Psychologists refer to this as the “Helper’s High.” Essentially we are created and wired to give.
It makes sense that giving would cause our hearts to be glad and benefit our health for we are made in the image of God and His likeness; and He is a giver. We are wired by Him to be generous with our time, money, talents and energy and it’s only when we suffer harm or ill treatment that we can shut down our God given tendency to be a giver and lose this God given trait and the joy it generates in our life. However the closer we draw to God and receive from Him, the more likely we are to be a giver and to become more cheerful and healthy in the process.
If you want to cultivate cheerfulness in your life then draw near to God; learn from Him and choose to be a giver. Look for ways every day to give. It doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary; it could be an encouraging word, a helping hand or the giving of our skills and knowledge to someone who needs it. Sometimes the small things we do can mean everything in another person’s life and it not only benefits them, but us too.
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Prayer: Lord thank you for making me a giver. Help me to make the most of my potential to give and to tap into the joy that giving brings to my life. Please show me where and how to give today. In Jesus name Amen.