Researchers have shown that people who commit random acts of kindness are significantly happier than those who don’t, and spending money on others makes you happier than spending money on yourself. They also have discovered happier people help others more – a positive mood makes you nicer! This makes a circle: giving makes you happy, and when you’re happy you give more, which makes you happier, which makes you give more.
Neuroscientists know that charitable giving releases dopamine, the “reward neurotransmitter” that makes you feel good. The point is that charitable donations aren’t purely rational calculations. Instead, our decisions are deeply influenced by the quirky social machinery of the brain, which is influenced by variables like empathy (how close do we feel to the beneficiaries of the good cause?) and the ability to detect agency (does the charity make us think of other people?).
We bring this up this selfless circle of happiness now because today is #GivingTuesday, a national day of giving. How can you make the world a better place in some way, and live #GivingTuesday every day of the year? You should take a moment to feel joy at the difference you make and if you want a place to increase your flow of dopamine today, we recommend our Granny program. Our Grannies in China, South Africa, Colombia and Moldova give their time every day…they’re getting their daily dose of dopamine!