Buying something new or taking advantage of a service is definitely a source of pleasure, but this pleasure is generally quite short-lived and the desire to do it again is quickly felt. But did you know that you can gain pleasure by giving rather than buying? Discover all the benefits that giving can have on your morale by reading this blog post prepared by Entraide diabétique du Québec as well as some suggestions for volunteer activities.
Proven benefits for the brain
Many researchers have studied the effects that giving has on the brain. Interestingly, this act of kindness is believed to stimulate the same areas of pleasure as eating chocolate! A miracle cure for the seasonal blues, giving time—together with other volunteers—helps overcome isolation, while decreasing anxiety. Social involvement also makes us feel useful, while developing meaningful relationships with other people. Moreover, since volunteering is a voluntary activity, it is done without pressure or stress, as no employer is there to evaluate performance. In addition, there is no financial risk in the event that the volunteer action comes to an end.
It is often said that happiness is found in the little things and giving is part of it. Much more satisfying than the material comfort that we can buy for ourselves with money, it is the recognition of the people helped that provides a feeling of well-being, a feeling that is much more long-lasting emotionally. Giving also improves many aspects of self: It increases self-esteem, gives meaning to our lives, fosters connection with others and can make us realize that we can have a real impact on our community.
Also, a number of research studies have shown that after giving, positive emotions increase significantly and even much more than when we spend money on ourselves. The feeling is described as a “warm glow” and is associated with the satisfaction of giving, a very pleasant feeling that allows us to regain our good mood and eliminate negative feelings.
How to give?
Although people often think that giving means volunteering in a charitable organization, there are many other ways of giving as well. If you are looking for a way to give, the Fédération des centres d’action bénévole du Québec is made up of more than a hundred volunteer centres in each region. By consulting this site, you will have access to organizations that recruit volunteers and you will quickly see that there is something for every taste.
If giving your time is more complex because of your family or personal situation, you can always give away any of your clothing or belongings in good condition and donate them to Entraide diabétique du Québec. It’s a great way to pass things on, while weeding out what you no longer want and decluttering your home. And if you are skilled with your hands, you could make items for underprivileged children, such as tuques, scarves or mittens. Most hospitals also have a great need for volunteers, whether it is to give directions to patients on signs or to offer comfort to people who are alone. Even though the present situation is complicating things a bit, you can always check with health care institutions to find out about their policies on volunteering.
There are also hotlines that are constantly looking for volunteers. To find an organization that is in line with your interests, check out the website of the Association des centres d’écoute téléphonique du Québec. These organizations provide adequate training for volunteers in order to enable them to help people experiencing psychological distress—a good way to learn while listening to others.
And lastly, there are many ways to give, if only by preparing simple meals for an overwhelmed mother, by giving blood or by going shopping for an elderly person who is not as self-sufficient as before. The possibilities are endless and it’s up to you to find the volunteer action that suits you best. On behalf of the entire Entraide diabétique du Québec team, we encourage you to give generously, for the well-being of one and all!