Throughout January, we're showering gratitude on all the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity supporters who make our mission possible. We call it "Thankuary." In our blog this month, you'll see stories about generosity in action from members of the Habitat community. Read this blog about why it feels so good to donate to causes you love.
Guest Blog by Adrienne Aarts
Leadership Giving Officer
Giving back is something we all know helps make the world a better place. But did you know it can also benefit the giver? Researchers have been exploring how generosity affects our health and happiness for years. And, as it turns out, giving back comes with a lot of perks.
Here are five ways giving back is good for you.
1. Greater Happiness
One study researched this idea by asking participants how much money they made, how they spent it, and how they would rate their happiness levels. The study found that, regardless of income, those who spent their money giving to others had higher happiness levels than those who spend money on themselves.
Giving at any level led to greater happiness than not giving at all. Philanthropy is not just for the wealthy!
2. Increased Physical Health
Studies show that giving is associated with lower blood pressure, less depression, and lower stress levels. These benefits can lead to a stronger immune system and a longer life. Volunteering at a place like Habitat can also increase physical activity and improve cardiovascular health.
3. Boost your Mental Health
Giving is also shown to release “feel good” chemicals in our brains, such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. This release of these endorphins produces the feelings of what is known as a ‘helper’s high.’
4. Increased Self Worth
Generosity through donations and volunteering can increase self-confidence and give you a new purpose to life. Giving can also elicit feelings of gratitude, one of the keys to increased happiness and boosted positivity.
Giving back can lead to a sense of community with others who share your values and passions. It can also result in a ripple effect of generosity that inspires others to do the same. Read about what has kept long-time volunteer Dawn coming back to volunteer for more than 20 years.
According to WalletHub, Minnesota is known as one of the most charitable states in the country. By comparing states across 19 key indicators of charitable behavior, we were ranked #2 in 2020 and #3 in 2021. Minnesotans lead in how much money they give and how much time they spend volunteering.
While the COVID-19 pandemic may have disrupted activities like volunteer opportunities and in-person events, it hasn’t stopped people from giving back to Habitat. In fact, in the last fiscal year, 7,049 donors raised more than $12.4 million and 2,916 volunteers gave of their time. Thank you to everyone helping Habitat build homes and transform lives, and don’t be surprised if you’ve benefitted yourself in the process!