In the quest for happiness and overall well-being, embracing a positive mindset and engaging in acts of generosity emerge as key components. Dr. Martin Seligman, regarded as the father of positive psychology, has identified “giving” as a fundamental aspect of his groundbreaking research. According to medical professionals, the science behind the power of giving extends beyond momentary joy as it significantly contributes to long-term health benefits.
Positive Psychology Unveils the Power of Giving
Dr. Robyn Cotney, a first-year resident psychiatrist at Piedmont Macon Medical Center, emphasizes the holistic approach of positive psychology. The discipline explores not only how positivity shapes an individual’s outlook but also how positive actions can foster happiness for oneself and those in one’s community.
Dr. Cotney shares her perspective, highlighting the role of giving in reducing depression and anxiety. “Giving, from a psychiatry standpoint, can reduce depression and anxiety because of those good endorphins flowing through the brain,” she explains. “You feel good when you give to others.”
Depression and anxiety often manifest with low mood and energy levels. Dr. Cotney elaborates on the transformative impact of giving, stating, “When you’re giving to others, even if it may not be something for ourselves, that boosts everything in you that’s happier.” The act of giving triggers the release of positive hormones and endorphins, inducing a sense of calmness and relaxation that permeates the entire body.
Dr. Uwa Iguobadia, a pediatrician from Lifeguard Pediatrics, echoes the sentiments, emphasizing the importance of cultivating a positive lifestyle. She encourages her young patients to engage in acts of service, promoting graciousness, kindness, and care toward others.
Dr. Iguobadia’s personal commitment to giving involves prayer and charity, with her practice actively partnering with local organizations like the Salvation Army and Goodwill.
The ripple effects of giving extend beyond mental health. Nurse Keilah Jones emphasizes the tangible benefits for physical well-being. “Serving others in the community by giving can reduce your stress levels, which can reduce your blood pressure, give you good feeling endorphins, decrease your cortisol levels, which makes you feel really, really great!” Nurse Jones explains.
As the holiday season approaches, Nurse Jones shares her family tradition of adopting a child each year to share gifts. This act of generosity not only contributes to the well-being of the recipient but also enhances the collective happiness of her family.
Medical professionals stress that feeling good through giving doesn’t require monumental efforts; the intention alone can set transformative processes in motion. Dr. Cotney suggests, “Just thinking about giving, like, ‘Can I do this? I think it will be good, and then I can do this’ starts to get those wheels and hormones flowing.”
In essence, the act of giving transcends a simple exchange; it becomes a reciprocal act of self-care. While individuals extend kindness to others, they inadvertently nurture their own well-being. This interconnectedness is the essence of the science behind giving – a profound understanding that as we uplift others, we, in turn, uplift ourselves.
In conclusion, the transformative power of giving is more than a fleeting moment of joy; it’s a prescription for sustained health and happiness. As positive psychology continues to unveil the intricacies of human well-being, embracing a lifestyle of generosity emerges as a timeless and scientifically supported pathway to a fulfilling and healthier life.