4 Ways to Maximize Happiness When You Give
Monday Morning Wake-Up Call:
Your Motivation, Inspiration & Direction for the Week Ahead
Was last week a great week? Did you do something to help someone else? If so, fantastic! If you got caught up in “life,” no worries; there’s always someone in need, so you’ll have many other opportunities to help others.
Here are 4 ways you can maximize your happiness when giving:
- Give to clear, tangible projects. When you feel like you’re giving directly to a project rather than “overhead,” you give 3 times as much – and feel better about it. When you know that your donation is going to something concrete and tangible, it combats a sense of futility (i.e., Will my donation even make a difference?). You feel like you’re making a more direct impact. This feeling of personal impact makes you more likely to give and increases your satisfaction level after you have given.
- Give more frequently in smaller amounts. Giving, like consumption, has diminishing returns. Giving $1,000 doesn’t give you 10 times the high of giving $100. Because of this, you really should be giving more often in smaller amounts so you get that pleasure high more often. Look for a monthly donation programwhere you can see the ongoing impact of your donation.
- Give with no strings attached. Making a donation to get something tangible in exchange can limit that high you get when giving. The same is true when you purchase something where a portion of proceeds goes to charity. These things can take your decision-making from, “How can I help others with my resources?” to a logical thought process of, “If I buy this, it helps a cause.” It’s not that you shouldn’t purchase products that give to charity, but your brain does not emit the same feeling. Nothing beats a straight up donation directly to a charity with no tangible strings attached.
- Give when you know whom your donation will help. Child sponsorship programs have been putting this to use longer and better than most. While it’s sometimes heartbreaking, putting a name and face to the cause gives you a big emotional boost. People will donate 60% more when there’s a name, age and picture of the person who will benefit from the donation. This is called the identifiable victim effect, where we care more about the one person we know compared to the numerous others that are just numbers.
Something to Think About
Giving to others gives us pleasure. It makes us happier which, in turn, leads us to give more, which makes us even happier and… you get the picture. And don’t forget: It doesn’t have to be money. You can use your talents and time to help many in need.
This one seems simple… Let’s find a way to continuously give to help others.
Words of Wisdom
“To be poor does not mean you lack the means to extend charity to another. You may lack money or food, but you have the gift of friendship to overwhelm the loneliness that grips the lives of so many.” – Stanley Hauerwas
“I am a huge believer in giving back and helping out in the community and the world. Think globally, act locally I suppose. I believe that the measure of a person’s life is the effect they have on others.” – Steve Nash
“Giving back involves a certain amount of giving up.” – Colin Powell
“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.” – Mandy Hale
“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” – Lao Tzu