Have you ever considered that by giving back, YOU might actually be the one who reaps the most benefits and not the person or organisation who you are giving to?!
Generally, when we think of giving we consider how this affects others. Will they like it? Will it make them happy? Will it brighten their day? However, studies show that a plethora of mental health benefits are enjoyed by the person who is doing the giving.
Have you ever considered the effects that giving back can have on your own mind and body??
When you give back by volunteering, donating or otherwise to support a meaningful and worthwhile cause, it makes you feel good. You may even experience a feeling of euphoria! The reason for this is that (in simple terms) the act of giving activates pathways in the brain which contribute to feelings of gratitude and fulfillment. Chemicals such as dopamine (the happy one) are released and this can lead to feelings of inner peace and tranquility. Collett and Morrisey, 2007, maintain that acts of generosity serve as both a confidence builder and a natural repellent of self-hatred.
And the benefits don’t just stop there! Further studies also show positive links between giving and physical health. In a simple study undertaken by Social Psychologist Liz Dunn, (which you can read and hear all about here) generosity was linked to physical health. Basically, the study took a bunch of people. There were given ten bucks each and they could do whatever the hell they liked with it. Long story short – the more money people gave away, the happier they felt. BUT – the more they kept for themselves, the more shame they experienced. But wait for it – this caused an increase in cortisol. Cortisol is a shitty hormone – one that inhibits your immune system, makes you put on weight, lose muscle tone, lose the glow of your skin, lose the whiteness of your eyes, suffer from increased blood pressure AND it also has strong links with stress and disease. Cortisol can fuck right off, thank you very much. Additional studies also maintain that physical health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, increased self-esteem, lower rate of depression, lower stress levels, longer life and greater happiness are associated with “giving.”
Anyway, Bec and I had planned on doing something last year to give back, but between babies, break ups and breakdowns we kind of had our hands full. Our minds were more filled with healthy eating and Namaste and shit than throwing a (fundraiser) party. Although we did throw a pretty epic party later in the year – just call us the Queens of Halloween. Anyway, we’re not dumb twenty year olds anymore. Not saying that twenty year olds are dumb, but when we were twenty we were fucking dumb. Probably didn’t even know what mental health was and definitely didn’t know shit about life.
So this year, with healthy minds and armed with our good habits and a team of amazing girlfriends, we decided we would finally get around to giving back. We chose the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation and you can read about it here. We are not in the “most at risk” category for breast cancer: 75% of BC diagnoses in NZ are in women over the age of 50. BUT – this category is our Mums. So it is extremely relevant to us. Furthermore, a large portion of all funding that goes to the foundation is invested in medical research and prevention programmes. Look at the medical advancements we’ve made in the last 20 years – think of what could be achieved in the next 20 – when we will be more at risk. So in a way, we are future proofing. The money we raise today could help us and our daughters in the future, and it could help ours Mums in the present. (God forbid).
It turns out that there is actually a large amount of work involved in throwing a fundraiser party. Perhaps we could have aimed smaller, but we’ve never been the kind to do things by halves! Anyway, this has been a really fun and exciting project for us and we’d love to share a bit of the journey with you! You can keep up to date with our progress over on our Facebook or Instagram accounts and we will also be sharing lots of photos on our big day! One of the coolest things that has come out of planning this fundraiser is the amount of support we have received from businesses and organisations who we have approached, for support via donations for our raffle! In the early stages of planning we didn’t have high expectations, however, over the past couple of months we’ve pulled easily thousands of dollars worth of prizes to go into our raffle. Mostly this support has come from small owner-operated businesses which we think is pretty rad, considering that for some of these smaller businesses it’s actually quite a hit on them to donate something. Of course we got the usual responses from some of the larger Corporates, all “we get approached all the time and can’t support everyone,” or “we have our own charity or foundation which we exclusively support so wont support you” but hey, thems the breaks and thems the large marketing departments! But in this whole process, what we’ve really found (and are exceptionally tickled pink about) is the generosity that everyday kiwis are exhibiting, all in the name of helping and supporting other everyday kiwis. And we think that’s pretty special.
If you’d like to make a donation to our cause, you can do so here.
What have you done lately to “give back”? Do you give back often? Who or what causes do you give back to? How does giving back make YOU feel? Do please let us know in the comments below!
Stayed tuned for more updates!
P.S You can read about how it all went here.