There is so much more to the holidays than getting gifts, attending parties, and spending time with loved ones. The holidays are also a season of giving back. And when you give, you’re doing so much more than you think. You’re spreading happiness, inspiring others, making people feel loved and supported, and improving your own health.
Studies have shown that giving positively affects your brain and boosts your mood during the holidays. Keep reading to understand what happens to your brain when you give, how it can boost your mood, and ideas to start off the holidays giving.
Your Brain’s Response to Giving
How does giving affect your brain? Well, according to Medical News Today, studies show that many parts of the brain change in activity from your normal state. When you give, the activity in your amygdala decreases. The amygdala is a part of the brain that is responsible for interpreting emotions and activating your fight-or-flight response. Long story short, giving has been shown to reduce your stress and anxiety.
Giving to someone in need also stimulates your brain’s ventral striatum, which is a similar activation response to nurturing a loved one. When we give, it activates the part of our brains that is considered the reward or pleasure center. Your brain then releases endorphins and leaves you feeling happier and more relaxed.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” -Aesop
4 Ideas To Start The Holidays Off Giving
You don’t need to have tons of money to give. A small act of kindness can go a long way. Just giving your time at a local food bank can help others much more than you think.
- Donate. There are thousands of charities that all have different missions, some aim to find cures and treatments, while others do what they can to help those in need in their communities. Blood donations are also a great way to give back and take only about 20-30 minutes of your time.
- Visit a Nursing Home. People who live in nursing homes may not have friends or family that come to visit them over the holidays. Spend some time with the residents, they may really need the company and may have lots of stories to share.
- Volunteer. There are so many local places to volunteer that will help those in need. Whether you choose to volunteer at an animal shelter to share your love with pets in need, a homeless shelter, or a food bank.
- Write Letters to Deployed Military Personnel. To those who are overseas and unable to spend the holidays with friends and family, a simple hand-written letter may help lift their spirits more than you know.
Remember, people appreciate all acts of kindness, no matter how small they are. Spend some time giving this holiday season. However you decide to give, remember we can all use a little help sometimes, and it will not go unappreciated.
If the holidays have you feeling extra stressed or feeling down, try Xen. Xen works to deliver gentle electrical signals to your vagus nerve. Stimulating your vagus nerve may promote a deeper state of relaxation, leaving you with less stress and in a brighter mood. Neuvana wishes you happy holidays filled with giving, joy, family, and wellness!
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