Giving away some of what you have to the needy for increased wealth and happiness sounds absurd, illogical and unreasonable but as this serial shows it works. It makes you richer, happier and healthier.
You want to grow wealth, you save and invest. That is logical, pure and simple. It is proven economics, encouraged by banks and governments all over the world. On that basis, it becomes illogical to give away what one has as the holy books admonish us, in the quest for happiness and wealth.
For example, the Holy Bible quotes Jesus as saying: “Give and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
Giving is the transfer of something to another person without the expectation of receiving something in return. It may not be money; it could your time, food, clothes, anything legal to make the needy better off.
That is usually a difficult thing to do, but the benefits are amazingly satisfying. The power of giving is like a case of subtraction (e.g. 4-2), which result is a multiplication (e.g.4×2). Various studies and experiences of others show that giving makes you happy and even richer.
The power of giving has been steeped in religion by the way it has been presented over the years, but it has been proven scientifically to be strong. For example, in the compilation of the benefits of giving from various researches by Jason Marsh and Jill Suttie, giving improves health of the giver and the taker.
Giving is good for our health.
They wrote: “A wide range of research has linked different forms of generosity to better health, even among the sick and elderly. In his book Why Good Things Happen to Good People, Stephen Post, a professor, reports that giving to others has been shown to increase health benefits in people with chronic illness, including HIV and multiple sclerosis.
A 1999 study led by Doug Oman of the University of California, Berkeley, found that elderly people who volunteered for two or more organizations were 44 percent less likely to die over a five-year period than were non-volunteers, even after controlling for their age, exercise habits, general health, and negative health habits like smoking.
Stephanie Brown of the University of Michigan saw similar results in a 2003 study on elderly couples. She and her colleagues found that those individuals who provided practical help to friends, relatives, or neighbors, or gave emotional support to their spouses, had a lower risk of dying over a five-year period than those who didn’t. Interestingly, receiving help wasn’t linked to a reduced death risk.
Researchers suggest that one reason giving may improve physical health and longevity is that it helps decrease stress, which is associated with a variety of health problems. In a 2006 study, people who provided social support to others had lower blood pressure than participants who didn’t, suggesting a direct physiological benefit to those who give of themselves.
Giving and Happiness
A new survey of 5,000 people has found a strong link between giving and happiness. The finding comes from a survey carried out by the charity Action for Happiness, in collaboration with Do Something Different.
For their survey, they identified ten everyday habits which science has shown can make people happier. Giving came up tops.
Here are the 10 habits, with the average ratings of survey participants on a scale of 1-10, as to how often they performed each habit:
- Giving: do things for others — 7.41
- Relating: connect with people — 7.36
- Exercising: take care of your body — 5.88
- Appreciating: notice the world around — 6.57
- Trying out: keep learning new things — 6.26
- Direction: have goals to look forward to — 6.08
- Resilience: find ways to bounce back — 6.33
- Emotion: take a positive approach — 6.74
- Acceptance: be comfortable with who you are — 5.56
- Meaning: be part of something bigger — 6.38
One of the psychologists involved, Professor Karen Pine said: “Practising these habits really can boost our happiness. It’s great to see so many people regularly doing things to help others — and when we make others happy we tend to feel good ourselves too.”
Personal Experience of a writer
Cami Walker, a fellow writer, who is also an artist, healer, and philanthropist, tries to explain how this works in psychological terms.
She says, “In the present economy, many people are stuck in this cycle of scarcity and fear. These are the times when giving can be most important, and can have the greatest positive influence on our state of mind.
“By giving of ourselves when we feel least equipped to do so, we create an attitude of abundance that resonates around us. Through our generosity, we are made aware of others’ gratitude; mindful giving causes us to be more aware of our own value. This awareness, in turn, bolsters our emotional bank account so we are more likely to continue to feel connected to the bigger picture that exists beyond our own personal circumstances”.
She started with a 29-Day Giving Challenge to see what would happen in her life if she committed and focused her energy on giving for 29 days. What space would it create in her life for new and unexpected things to occur? What shifts she would see in her thinking and behavior as a result? What impact would the gifts have on others?
She said, “By Day 29, I was astounded by the magical and miraculous gifts I began to receive.
I felt happier, healthier, and more in awe with life. I was smiling and laughing more.
- I got stronger and was able to stop using my cane (to aid walking) by Day 14.
- My business exploded with unexpected opportunities and I went back to work part-time after months of being too sick to work.
- I connected with a community of new friends; I also reconnected with my community of friends from San Francisco and the Midwest, where I had lived previously.
- My creativity opened up and I began writing stories regularly.
- I began experiencing a deeper intimacy in my relationship with my husband, family and friends.
The Benny Hinn Experience
I have been trying not to make this too spiritual but I can’t forget this testimony of popular evangelist, Benny Hinn. He said: words: “When I first got into ministry, I fell into deep debt. I started preaching in 1974 and by 1977, I was $200,000 in debt. A young, single man, I was scared to death. The crowds were growing bigger and bigger, so when I was given the opportunity to go on a network, I signed a contract to do 28 programmes. That money had to be paid whether one red cent came in or not.
I learned some very hard lessons, and I also saw God work mighty miracles of debt cancellation when I began giving toward the kingdom, even though I could not humanly afford to give anything”.
He explained what happened during one of his crusades. He married his wife, Suzanne, later and had gone to see his father-in-law when he got the break. Asked whether he paid tithes and sowed seeds, he admitted he did, but he was not very forthcoming about the size of the seeds. He said his in-law advised him to sow seeds to get out of the debt that was threatening his ministry.
He started as soon as he returned to his office with an order to his secretary to write cheques to various churches and organizations from the about $10, 000 left in the ministry’s accounts. His secretary, who felt there was something wrong with her boss asked repeatedly whether he really wanted to exhaust his balance.
Hers was by far a mild reaction. Members of the Ministry’s board thought he was crazy. All but one elderly man resigned from the board and left the church. Even the man who stayed reluctantly kept on asking, “Benny, you are sure the Lord told you to do this?”
After the massive sowing of seeds, Benny Hinn was down to a few cents, which he was forced by a divine leading to drop in the collection try on the Sunday after. To his pleasant surprise donations started pouring into his ministry the following week, and some of the post marks showed that the moment he commenced sowing, the donations started coming in. Months later a happy Benny swam out of debt.
TO BE CONTINUED