Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Giving Makes You Happy

It really does!
Have you ever noticed how the most joyful among us are often the most generous?  I once spent a summer in Mexico City where I learned quickly that the happiest people weren't the stuffy upper class of that economically stratified country, but the poor folks that cleaned homes, cooked meals, and sold street food.  They were also the most generous.  What did I do if I needed to know which bus to take downtown?  I simply asked one of the taco vendors - and I wasn't surprised if she paid my fare, too. 

Maybe its part of some evolutionary oddity developed to promote our own survival.  Regardless, giving definitely makes us better people.

And there are so many ways to give.  Parking your car further from a store's entrance frees up closer spots for those with limited mobility or six kids in tow.  Tipping 20 percent, versus your usual 15, could make the day of the guy who served you lunch.   Handing your unexpected bonus over to your friend with huge medical bills could turn a windfall for into a blessing for two.

And regularly donating to a charitable cause you believe in could make happiness become your new habit.

For more information about how giving to others can be a gift to yourself, check out the book list on happy giving provided by the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.  Their suggestions are on my reading list.

For how giving can help the student in your family, this report from Australia might give you some inspiration to try different technique to increase Junior's test scores.

And visit the BBB of Greater Kansas City to check out a growing list of local charities that would appreciate your gifts. 

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