Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

UBC Study Proves That It Is Better To Give Than Receive

July 03, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 175

One of my mother's favourite "motivational" sayings - and she had dozens! - was "Think of all those starving children in Africa." It popped out of her mouth if we didn't eat our dinner quickly, if we didn't appreciate everything she cooked, if we complained about too little food, if we compared what one of us children had with what another had.

My mother also was the ultimate altruistic Canadian. Regardless of how poor we were (and we did our best to be the poorest in our town), she knew of others less fortunate, finding ways to give a little of herself, or what little tangible assets she had to others. Her standard is the standard for which I aim, but too often miss. Yet, she defied the results of recent research, which claims that people are happier when they give to others. Mom was far from a happy person.

Mom lived by two rules: It is better to give than receive, and Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Yet, she loved giving, and hated having people give to her. "I'm no charity case" was one of her mantras.

A study out of the University of British Columbia, though, reinforces my optimistic view of the world. It declares that children are happier giving than receiving. It is a result that is consistent with the teachings of most major religions, including Judaism, which declares, "So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof"). The Qu'ran states, "The mutual rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the more serious things). Rivalry in worldly increase distracteth you. Abundance diverts you." The Bible says,, "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." All of these religions hold that we should be generous, and think of others.

An interesting corollary of the University of BC research is that the kids tested were happier when they gave away their own valued possessions, as compared to giving away something that the researchers had provided to them with the specific purpose of giving away.

This small study has sizeable implications for the rest of us. The idea that we can improve our own happiness by making others happy first suggests that a good therapy for depression is to look to helping others, and getting involved. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why Canadians consistently are ranked as happier than most people in the world, while also being one of the most generous people and the most involved in volunteerism. Giving, if not a cure for sadness, certainly is related to not being sad.

Many of the studies conducted on the topics of depression, happiness, satisfaction and so on show strong relationships between thinking of others and personal wellbeing. However, a relationship between the two does not mean one causes or resolves the other. For instance, one recent study found that happier people were healthier.

Does that men that we simply need to smile and be happy, and everything will be fine? No. Indeed, it may be that we are happier because we have health, not the other way around. The former seems logical. Yet, returning to the example that my mother set, if we actually do increase happiness by giving, I certainly am glad she gave a lot. The consequences of her giving less could have been intolerable!

Among other interests, Robert Lee is a writer who focuses on ethical considerations in business and living life simply. He is the author of six books, including The Last Drop of Living, A Minimalist's Guide to Living The High Life On A Low Budget and Wild People I Have Known. His blogs include, as well as blogs on minimal living, living in a yurt, harvesting wild plants and eco-innovations.

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:





Better To Give









Imagine a 10,000 piece jigsaw complete with a picture and then a tornado comes along and rips it apart, the pieces scattered and the picture lost. Imagine that jigsaw falling back to earth in some

By: Tim Holmes l Self Improvement > Empowerment l August 12, 2012 lViews: 334

Personal growth and understanding of self are no different. We fear that which we do not understand and it is a choice as to what we do with that feeling of fear. I now understand myself very well

By: Tim Holmes l Self Improvement > Personal Growth l August 12, 2012 lViews: 309

If you are going to write articles online, you are going to inadvertently increase your critical thinking skills. The reason is simple - because as you are preparing an article you are explaining to

By: Lance Winslow l Self Improvement > Mind Development l August 02, 2012 lViews: 301

Back when I was in high school and college I was a spectacular athlete, and I'm not afraid to say so now. At the time, it might not been inappropriate, as it would have shown an inflated ego, but I

By: Lance Winslow l Self Improvement > Mind Development l August 02, 2012 lViews: 495

Brainwave entrainment is a great resource for self-hypnosis and can be very effective in helping you to access the brainwave frequency that allows you to change your core programming by changing your

By: Wanina Petlock l Self Improvement > Mind Development l August 01, 2012 lViews: 248

Simply put, brainwave entrainment is a process that uses sound patterns to change your dominant brainwave to a specific brainwave frequency that produces a certain, desired effect. Entrainment can

By: Wanina Petlock l Self Improvement > Mind Development l August 01, 2012 lViews: 235

Why do people move forward with large projects and others don't? Why do people are able to perform regardless of the tasks ahead? Why some can accomplish more then others? Is it based on

By: Daniel A Amzallagl Self Improvement > Happinessl July 05, 2012 lViews: 197

Friends, family and acquaintances will always try to get involved in your personal and professional life by giving their point of views, regardless of the outcome. It is up to you to listen and live

By: Daniel A Amzallagl Self Improvement > Happinessl July 05, 2012 lViews: 145

Learn how to save your time and be happy at the same time. Being happy is all about the right mindset, learn how to utilize your natural talents and abilities from birth to tap into the happiness

By: Eli Attiasl Self Improvement > Happinessl July 04, 2012 lViews: 180

Every now and then it is important for people to walk away from their surroundings in order to rejuvenate themselves. Even if it lasts for a mere few seconds, the fact that you changed your pattern

By: Jim Fargianol Self Improvement > Happinessl July 04, 2012 lViews: 178

  "I focus so much on the past and all the troubles I have had and all the problems I have going on that it doesn't allow me to enjoy living my life" - The Unhappy Person "I worry what the future

By: Eli Attiasl Self Improvement > Happinessl July 03, 2012 lViews: 194

Listening is crucial to a healthy life. Most relationship dies because a lack of communication between both parties because no one takes the time to listen to what the others says. If one can just

By: Daniel A Amzallagl Self Improvement > Happinessl July 03, 2012 lViews: 165

While yurt construction is relatively easy, there are several critical considerations to be factored into your design. Yurts appear to be flimsy structures, supposedly nothing more than a slightly

By: Robert Frederick Leel Home Improvementl April 26, 2012 lViews: 200

There are several designs of yurt rafter rings, each serving a particular purpose, and working best in specific environments. Snow load, wind and even humidity play a role in determining the most

By: Robert Frederick Leel News & Society > Eco Innovationsl February 26, 2012 lViews: 165

One of the most basic components, yet one of the most crucial structural elements of any yurt is the rafter ring. This device holds each rafter in place, ensures geometrical and structural integrity

By: Robert Frederick Leel News & Society > Eco Innovationsl February 09, 2012 lViews: 154

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus