Giving is the act of freely parting with something and offering it to someone or something beyond ourselves - a stranger, friend, family member, a charitable organisation, our local community or our wider community.
Giving can look like a number of things – it could mean supporting a friend with a problem, donating clothes or unused items to a charity, volunteering your time for a cause you care about, or simply making an effort to make more time for the people that you care about.
The benefits of giving
Giving makes us feel happy, research shows it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect. Scientists also believe that altruistic behaviour releases endorphins in the brain, producing a positive feeling known as the “helper’s high". Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates a connection with the people around you.
Increasing the opportunity to give
One of the most effective ways to give is giving yourself. Give your time, your skills, your hands, your knowledge, and your companionship. Compare giving an hour of your time, helping someone in a practical sense, and the gratitude they might feel, to using an hour of your time to go and choose a card and a token gift. Your time given to those that need it can be far more valuable in many situations, and as such, will be appreciated much more.
Often, it’s the little things that can make all the difference to your mental health and wellbeing so try to make "giving" something you do when you can for a happier and more fulfilling life.
Ideas for how you can give
- Consider performing a random act of kindness for a workmate or stranger.
- Volunteer by contacting your regional volunteer centre or through a volunteering website, like SEEK Volunteer, Skills for Change or UN Volunteer
- Organise a local 'clean up' day so that everyone can continue to enjoy our great outdoors for years to come.
- Help out at your local school, kindy or community centre
- Give someone a compliment
- Donate old toys, clothes, bedding etc to a local charity or community group
- Shout a colleague a takeaway drink and head out for a walk together
- Offer to mow a neighbour's lawn or help them with a job they may have around the home
- If you have fruit trees or a veggie garden, put any excess you have on the street with a "help yourself" sign
Taking the time to write a message of thanks to someone is a great way you can embrace the concept of 'Give'. It doesn't have to be for anything too major that you are thanking them either. Thanking a colleague for the way they always help you whenever you have a question, or your manager for always taking time to listen. Maybe it's someone who serves you at a local cafe and always has a smile on their face, or the security guard who always asks you how your day is going. Write them a short message of thanks and put a smile on their face and yours.
Want to extend yourself? Handwrite a letter to someone you care about (partner, family member, friend) outlining just what it is you love about that person. Post it to them if they live elsewhere or place the letter in an envelope somewhere for them to find. If you feel up to it, you can even read the letter out loud to the recipient in person!
Give a gift...
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