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What does “giving” mean to you? Is it tithing each week at church? Donating money or old clothes to Goodwill or another local thrift shop? Giving something else?

What about something non-material? Do you give of your time? Or even just your presence, sitting and talking with someone who may not have any family or friends to visit them?

You might struggle to decide which is better, which option does the most good – donating your time, or donating something physical, whether money or goods.

The truth is – it doesn’t matter. Whatever you have more of, whatever you decide to donate, both you and the organization that accepts your donation will reap huge benefits.

For the donation recipient, the effects are immediate and obvious – they have gained whatever it is you have given them, whether that’s money, clothing, food, or help with something.

For you, the benefits are less clear but still enormous. You do receive some physical benefits from giving of yourself, whether material goods or non-material items. Your blood pressure lowers, and your stress levels go down, which in turn leads to other, non-physical benefits, like feeling good (you know how you feel when you give a loved one a gift that you know is just perfect for them?), less depression, greater happiness and satisfaction with your own life, and just a general great feeling.

In fact, a 2016 study from Health Psychology discovered that just 3 weeks of giving can lower your blood pressure. In fact, the benefits you receive after those 3 weeks are similar to the benefits you receive from starting a new workout routine (though no one is suggesting you swap out donations for walks)

So how do you decide what to give and where to do it? Well, that depends on you! What causes matter to you? What do you have that you could give up? What kind of a person are you – are you introverted and shy? In that case, maybe donating goods is better for you. Or maybe you want to go somewhere and volunteer so you can meet new people. One of my favorite ways of giving is through random acts of kindness. The little things DO add up, and they offer the same mental and physical health benefits. That’s why I created this calendar of 30 days of giving for free.

Remember the saying – “Think globally, act locally.”. If you want to help bring about a change in the world, you need to start right in your own neighborhood. Not only will this help bring about wider change, you’ll also benefit from seeing the results of your giving. If you decide to donate money, you’ll see the changes being made to the neighborhood. If you donate your time, you’ll get the immediate boost of seeing the smiles of the people you’re helping. If you donate a smile or kindness gesture, you will receive the gift of joy!

So what about you? Where are you planning to give this holiday season, either materially or non? Do you have a favorite charity or organization that you’re planning to volunteer with? How will you spread joy?

This month, I’d like to gather all the ways my readers are “giving”. Please share all the ways you are giving by clicking on this link and adding your name and gift.


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