Generosity Feels Good (No, I’m Not Soliciting This Time)

The statement “It’s better to give than receive” shows up A LOT around this time of year. I’m not sure how much of it is genuine proverb and how much is just marketing, but here’s the thing, it’s scientifically true. In light of my last post, this story I saw on the Science Channel’s show “Brink” was timed perfectly. A study was held that showed that when you give honestly, to a cause or person you believe in, you truly feel better, even better than when you receive. The study had patients in an MRI and at the same time, they gave to their chosen charity, charities that meant something deep to the subject and while doing this the pleasure center of the brain just lit up. Dopamine was released freely during these occurrences. Dopamine is the chemical that you feel when you’re having fun or in love, even say drug addicted. It’s a very powerful chemical and humans are always in search of it and it can easily take over, even to the point of remapping the brain for it’s own purposes. Jonah Lehrer of Scientific American Mind states that we do this because we humans are the opposite of “evil, selfish brutes”, which many humans believe we are at the core. He also thinks we are a social species therefore, we enjoy being communal. I want to believe that it also biological, in that, we give to advance the species. My college science teacher told us that biologically we are only here to procreate, so I don’t see why this finding isn’t a sign of something hardwired into us so that we benefit as a race, which keeps us moving forward. Anyway, it’s an interesting find and a good story for the holiday season. So get out there and buy those presents, play secret santa, maybe even give to Child’s Play (ok, so i kinda lied in the title). Peace

PS: To those of you who did/may contribute to Child’s Play, I thank you, truly. I’m not sure if people understand how much I really and wholeheartedly appreciate what you’ve done. It’s not about me, it’s about the kids, but I feel as though I owe those who gave because it really does mean a lot. The kids may not be able to thank you personally, but I do. -o-

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