As we embark fully into the Christmas season, it’s the perfect time to demonstrate care and kindness toward others through acts of generosity. The teaching of it being better to give than receive couldn’t ring more true than it does during the holiday season. A few weeks ago, the Strong Mom Tips column explored the benefits of focusing on experiences rather than material objects. Those who seek out positive experiences, whether through volunteering, travel, or other means, tend to be happier, more fulfilled people overall.
Being generous also has several significant benefits. Those who are more generous by nature tend to worry less which has direct health benefits including lower blood pressure, reduced risk of dementia, lower levels of anxiety, and better pain management. Generous people, the same as thankful people, also tend to be happier and have better relationships. They find it easier to selflessly give their time and attention to others.
There are several ways in which you can be generous. They fall into the categories of time, money, and resources. Being generous with time means deliberately spending time focusing on something or someone other than yourself or your own needs. This could be a much-needed phone call, volunteering to assemble kits for the homeless, or visiting family (practicing safe social distancing, of course). You can also be generous with your resources. If you have a car, offer to drive. If you have a special skill set, offer your talent to others.
Should you be crazy busy, but still want to help, know that making a financial donation, regardless of the amount, is always welcome.
A few years ago a dear friend of mine was trying to earn money for a special international school program, truly a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. I personally know how hard it was to do anything while in college. Money is super tight and often people miss out on these experiences because they simply can’t gather the funds. She’d set up a GoFundMe and was offering several of her books as a thank you. As a family, we’d had a good year that year and wanted to find specific and meaningful causes to help. We gave her a generous donation. To this day I can still look back with joy at just how thrilled she was to receive it.