It has often been said that sharing is good. Sharing not only benefits the recipient of the act of goodness, but the giver or contributor of goodness as well. Feelings of happiness and contentment are often associated with people who share what they have. It may be in the form of money, goods, services, time, or anything that can be of help to another person. As a result, more people are now open to doing charitable work without expecting anything in return. The best consolation that one gets out of being charitable is the knowledge and feeling that someone else is enjoying and finding good use for items shared or donated.
What Charity Does to Individuals
Charity is the voluntary giving of money, time, or other resources that one has. For various reasons, people consider being charitable towards others in need. For some, it is about the inner satisfaction that one gets out of knowing that they were able to help another person. Although the most common way of helping is through monetary support, it does not always have to be that way. Even an offer to teach less fortunate children on how to read and write will also bring forth the same happy feelings. Offering to take care of a neighbor's baby produces fulfilling and lasting emotions. Thus, regardless of the form of help an individual extends, the feelings of satisfaction and contentment are the same.
The author of the book, Why Kindness is good for you, Dr. David Hamilton claims, "When you do something for someone else, your brain produces [the] hormones [called] Dopamine – which makes you feel happy, and gives you the feeling that what you are doing is right" (as cited in Herdman, 2011). Therefore, the happy factor works both ways, that is, for both the receiver and the giver. Furthermore, research proves that because of these happy feelings, people tend to repeat the actions more. With the idea that helping others makes the giver happier, people tend to give more, causing a circular motion of giving and receiving. The happier the person becomes, the more giving the individual is. Thus, people become more giving to and understanding of other people's needs. For some individuals, this is enough motivation to keep the spirit of giving alive.
Apart from the emotional satisfaction that the giver feels, there are other benefits to sharing and being charitable. According to Hamilton, "The act of doing something for another person in any capacity has health benefits. Performing acts of kindness has been found to boost your immune system, keep your heart healthy and even slow the ageing process." (Herdman, 2011).
Other Benefits of Charitable Acts
Other reasons for donating to charity include reduced tax liability for the giver. Tax deduction depends on the value of the items an individual donates. The higher the value of the items, the higher the tax deduction an individual is allowed to claim (eHow contributor, n.d.).
Another benefit is how donating to charity can help individuals remove clutter. Instead of simply throwing away items that can still be used or recycled, these items can be donated instead "to the less fortunate individuals or nonprofit organizations" (eHow contributor, n.d.).
Giving also helps improve living conditions in communities that otherwise have no access to basic goods and services. As groups help raise the living standards of the less fortunate, karma comes in by bringing good tidings and better opportunities to the giver. It is believed that whatever individuals give to others is returned to them twofold or threefold of what they have shared to other people.
Sharing is a contagious feeling. The more one gives, the happier one becomes, thus, the more an individual dares to share more. When other people see how happy a person is after the act of giving, that person becomes a testament to another, which helps create a ripple effect of people sharing and giving to others. Therefore, one's happiness and satisfaction does not only come from receiving gifts from other people, but also from knowing that an individual can also make a difference in another person's life through charitable acts.
eHow Contributor. What are the benefits of donating to charity? eHow. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/about_5092658_benefits-donating-charity.html
Herdman, S. (2011). Charity, giving, and good karma. The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/health/cancer-research-uk/8792392/Charity-giving-and-good-karma.html