BRAIN HEALTH | 11.29.2015 | BY DAYA ALEXANDER GRANT, Ph.D., M.S.
We discussed the benefits of gratitude last week, so now let’s examine the ways in which giving positively affects the brain.
We’ve all experienced it – that natural high when we exercise our compassion and help someone in need. But from where does that feeling arise? Not surprisingly, it all starts in the brain. When we give to others, our brain’s pleasure and reward pathways are activated, releasing dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin. These neurochemicals are associated with happiness and serenity, which is why we feel those positive emotions.
It turns out giving even a small amount of money can do the trick. Social scientists at the University of British Columbia found that people who gave $5 to others reported feeling happier than those who spent that money on themselves.
Furthermore, those wonderful feelings are not transient and are actually enhanced with each altruistic action we take. Psychological studies have shown that the more people give, the less stressed and depressed they feel.
So, as we enter this season of giving, consider reaching into your wallets and giving the gift of yoga to someone living with a TBI. Through your generosity and support of LoveYourBrain on #givingtuesday, you will not only help someone else, but you will benefit your brain as well. It’s really, shall we say, a no-brainer!