Want to Be Happier? Give More of Yourself

High-quality relationships are the most important ones you can have for well-being and happiness.

These are relationships you would describe as close, secure and supportive where you talk openly and feel understood, give and receive support, and share positive emotions from activities and experiences.

 

Not only do quality relationships help to make us happier, but also happy people tend to have more of them.

 

Many studies have shown that both the quality and quantity of social connections also have a significant impact on our health and longevity as well as psychological wellbeing.

“Whereas diet and exercise are important, the social connection and the soft drivers of health — how you live your life, mentally, and socially — are even more important,” according to science journalist Marta Zaraska.  

In 2020 she wrote the book, Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100, in which she reveals:

 

  • High-quality relationships can increase your chances of living longer from 45% up to 65%

 

  • Diet and exercise can only increase your chances by 35%

Is there a way to make new friends, become even happier, feel good about yourself and live longer?

There is. The best choice, donate your time. Volunteer in your community.

 

Scientists who studied 1,700 women volunteers reported they experienced a ‘helpers’ high’. This was a euphoric feeling, followed by a longer period of calm. These sensations result from the release of endorphins followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being and sense of self-worth, feelings that in turn reduce stress, depression and anxiety and improve the health of the helper. [1]

Volunteering is also an act of giving that helps distract people from dwelling on their own problems and increases the feeling of gratitude.

 

In case you missed it, read our post on the connection of gratitude to happiness:

Happiness is the way Part 1

The second-best choice is to donate just a little amount of money, but to something your really care about and where you can see the impact of your giving.

 

Elizabeth Dunn maybe the leading expert on the effect of giving on your happiness. In one of her many studies, participants who were given $5 or $20 to spend on others or donate to charity experienced greater happiness than people given the same amount to spend on themselves. Interestingly the amount of money did not affect the level of happiness generated.[2]

 

You can listen to her inspiring presentation here or by clicking on this link.

Choose your preferred language.

When we give money to good causes, the same parts of the brain light up as if we were receiving money ourselves (or responding to other pleasurable stimuli such as: food, money or being in love)!

House of Happiness will be a community of positive people adding sunshine to your life (and giving).  We are starting by supporting a local group doing wonders. East Algarve Families in Need.

 

Please join us! Here is the link:   https://gofund.me/5acc315c 

We would love to hear your reactions to this article and write to us about other local organizations that you support.

 

Happy Giving!

Erik and Iléa

 

[1] Luks, A. A. (1988). Helper’s high. Psychology Today, 22(10)
[2] Dunn, E.W., Aknin, L.B. & Norton ,M.I. (2008) Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science Magazine, 319
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