Why gift giving is good for you

“It is more blessed to give than to receive”

When it comes to giving gifts, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. There’s a lot of psychology involved with both giving and receiving gifts. It’s a ritual as well as being a concept that’s been around since records began.

Governments have been giving gifts for centuries to show goodwill and encourage peace.

Even animals try and attract mates with gifts, Bowerbirds literally create love nests filled with gifts for potential mates to inspect. But it’s not just the recipient that benefits from getting goodies, the giver also enjoys the feel good factor.

It makes us feel good

We are all familiar with that warm fuzzy feeling you get when someone just adores the gift you have given them. We often give in order to see joy from the receiver; to get affection and thanks from them. In fact, a study by Harvard Business School in 2008 (Norton et al), found that giving money to someone else made people happier than spending it on themselves!

There’s scientific theories to reinforce the theory that giving gifts makes us feel great too. Many scientists believe altruistic behaviour and giving to others releases endorphins in the brain. It’s these endorphins that give us a kind of ‘helper’s high.’

Let’s be honest: when someone is genuinely pleased with a gift we present to them, it gives us a whole load of satisfaction. Just seeing someone’s face after they have received a dream gift is enough to make people smile.

Giving gifts can be genuinely good for both your mental and physical health. Stephen Post, a professor of medicine at Stony Brook University claimed that giving to others has been shown to increase health benefits in people with chronic illness. Perhaps one of the reasons that gift giving aids the receivers physical health is because it may help to reduce stress and it can make us feel content. According to the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University, the act of giving releases oxytocin in our brains, a hormone that induces euphoria and warmth.

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