It’s that time of year when giving is expected and the opportunities and requests for your money seem endless. The constant pressure of commercialism and well-meaning organizations can steal the joy of giving and leave the best of us with a bit of a Grinch heart.

What if being generous was actually a remedy for a Grinch heart and medicine for a happy, healthy life? It sounds counterintuitive. However, that is the conclusion of a comprehensive study on America’s giving from the book, Paradox of Generosity, by Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson. Here is just a sample of the study’s findings.

  • People who volunteer more (5.8 hours a month average) are happier.
  • People who donate 10% or more have lower depression rates.
  • People who are very giving in relationships (emotionally available and hospitable) are more likely to be in excellent health.

A fascinating find from the study shows that the “happiness/health” effect occurs when generosity is practiced and sustained regularly. One or two generous deeds won’t produce these kinds of results. In other words, people who develop the habit and lifestyle of generosity reap a happier, healthier life. Read more about the study here.

Why Aren’t We More Generous?

Most of us have more than enough to share with others. Generosity springs from a perspective of abundance and a heart to see others blessed.  And giving money is not the only way to be generous. This photo says it all.

Here are some ways to practice generosity:

  • Volunteer at a women’s or men’s shelter, your children’s school, or in your faith community.
  • Donate money, clothing, food or service to a local non-profit organization. Our area YMCA is a great option
  • Enlist your family or friends to give together. You can find an organization that serves others and donate generously. You can help build a well in Africa with charity:water. Give families in South America live animals for farming through Heifer, Help stop human slavery through the International Justice Mission. Relieve the cruel injustice on thousands in Alepo, Syria through Preemptive Love Coalition.
  • Be generous with your words. Express gratitude, speak encouraging words of praise for something you recognize in people.

“people who develop the lifestyle and habit  of generosity
reap a happier, healthier life”

Why not make being generous a goal for 2018! You’ll be happier and healthier if you do. It’s been said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. So true.

In this spirit of generosity, I’ve got a giveaway.

I’m giving away three books that have had an impact on my life. Love Does, by Bob Goff, expresses the spirit of generosity better than most. And all proceeds from the sale of his book go to Restore International providing education to children in conflict zones. Essentialism, by Greg Mc Keown, challenged me to find what matters most and do as much of that as possible. A great resource for decision making and life focus. Lastly, The Power of the Other, by Dr. Hennry Cloud, inspires me to have powerful relationships in my life and to be that to others. To have a chance to get one, just reply here to this newsletter and say, Be Generous. Don’t wait! We will randomly select three responses on Friday.

 

 

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