Want to be Happier? Give More. Give Better.

The reward or pleasure response to giving is the physiological reason behind the ‘warm glow’ or that good feeling you get when you give and why you may choose to spend money on others or charity compared to yourself. But does giving actually make you happier? According to a survey and study by researchers Dunn, Akin, Aknin and Norton, it does.

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After finding that people who spent a higher proportion of their income on prosocial spending (gifts for others and donations to charity) compared to personal spending (bills/expenses and gifts on themselves) were ‘happier’ in a self reported survey, the researchers set up a real-world experiment. Randomly assigned people were put into four groups that were to spend $5 on themselves, $20 on themselves, $5 on others or $20 on others. Those who spent $5 or $20 on others reported being much happier while those that spent money on themselves showed no change in happiness. Also of note, the group that gave away $5 was just as happy as the group that had $20 to give away showing that happiness in giving can be more about the how as opposed to the how much.

Giving to others gives us pleasure. It makes us happier people which in turn leads us to give more which makes us even happier and… you get the picture. So, think about how you can give more in better ways to maximise your happiness.