Learning the Science and Limitlessness of Giving

by Belinda Munoz on December 22, 2011

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I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
~ Maya Angelou

I love the holiday season!

It’s a bold statement coming from someone who starts bellyaching weeks out about not being prepared for all the activity the holidays entail. As if I need weeks to prepare for parties, none of which I’m hosting, organizing or catering. If I have to stress out about getting the perfect gift for anyone on my much abridged list, then I must be missing the point of gift-giving. And if I’m unable to get in the right head space for, um, good tidings and cheer, then I clearly have bigger problems to deal with.

I love the holiday season for the simple reason that folks tend to be more giving at this time of year.

I’m sure I’m the last person to hear about the numerous instances of anonymous generosity taking place at many K-Mart stores around the country. These so-called angels are paying for toys and winter essentials that families have put on layaway for their precious little ones. As a result, the act of giving generates a warm glow between the benefactor and the receiver alike.

It turns out that the adage giving is its own reward is rooted in science. Giving stimulates dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. The dopamine neurons stimulate other parts of the brain and help generate feelings that make people want to repeat the altruistic act.

What’s great about giving is anyone willing can do it (who doesn’t have anything to give?), it’s recession- and global economic turmoil-proof (who can’t give someone their time or attention?) and it inspires others who bear witness to do the same. And let’s not forget Ms. Angelou’s quote above.

Giving as a gift that keeps on giving? Who knew?! Or maybe we already know this but that we need to remind each other at least once a year so that others who are awake and ready to learn may know it, too.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 TheKitchenWitch December 22, 2011 at 5:07 am

Colorado is seeing a huge flood of generosity this year at KMart and Walmart layaways. I think it’s so inspiring.

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2 ayala December 22, 2011 at 5:22 am

I love this, Belinda. I truly believe that Maya Angelou said it best, giving liberates the soul. Happy Holidays to you and your family. I wish you happiness and peace.

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3 pillowsalamode December 22, 2011 at 6:17 am

Thank you for a great post and inspiring blog!

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4 Belinda December 22, 2011 at 8:02 am

Welcome to the halfway point, pillowsalamode! Thanks for your gift of kind words!

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5 Talon December 23, 2011 at 7:28 am

Belinda, so true. And isn’t it neat that their is a physical aspect to it that reinforces the whole giving experience and makes it even more special? My holiday wish is that the spirit of giving spreads throughout the year.

I wish you and your family a joyous and beautiful holiday season!

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6 Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri December 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm

So much truth in this post. Giving indeed is its own benefit. Happy Holidays to you and yours Belinda!

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7 BigLittleWolf December 25, 2011 at 8:17 pm

I, too, love this post, Belinda. We feel fuller when we give, and it’s a good model for our children as well.

Wishing you a warm and wonderful giving season.

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