Can Donors Buy Happiness?

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer

According to a post by Linda Andrews at Psychology Today’s “Minding the Body” blog, giving money away can ease your financial stress and lift your spirits.

In a study published in “Science” in 2008, people were given an envelope containing $5 or $20. One group was told to spend it on themselves and the other group was told to give it to someone or some cause. At day’s end, the group that gave the money away reported being happier than the group that spent the money on themselves. Interesting!!!

Some explanatory theories proposed by the blog author are that giving to others might “foster a sense of social connectedness” and can give people a sense of making a difference in the lives of others.

In another study of students at the University of British Columbia, researcher Elizabeth Dunn gave participants $10 to play an economic game that included the option of giving some of their money to another player. Students who kept more of the money for themselves reported feeling more shame accompanied by increased levels of stress.

The author concludes that donating is good not only for your soul, but also for your mind and body.

It might be helpful for us to reflect on these thoughts when we are asked, or when we are asking others to donate to one of our worthy causes.

Author:  Bob Cryer,  Executive Coached of Orange County,  www.ECofOC.org