The Psychology of Giving

the psychology of giving and volunteering

The holiday season is just around the corner which encourages many to get in the spirit of giving. It’s a wonderful time of year, but there’s no rule that limits the act of giving to this one time of year. Studies have shown that there is a beneficial psychological effect on those who are involved in giving to others or serving others who may be less fortunate.

These studies certainly apply to cancer-related cases. In fact, many people with cancer have found an emotional boost by becoming involved in charitable causes. Whether you’re looking for a welcomed distraction from your cancer or if you are simply looking for ways to support and help others, these psychological benefits may give you the motivation you’ve been searching for.


What Do The Studies Say?

For centuries, philosophers and spiritual leaders have advocated the emotional benefits of giving, from Jesus to Gandhi. Their teachings and examples can be inspiring, but skeptics may wonder if there is any science to support their claims concerning charitable actions. Hard evidence may be hard to come by, but there are studies that reveal some interesting stats.

In the 2010 Do Good Live Well Survey, 4,500 American adults were surveyed with 68% of those who volunteered at least 100 hours in a year reporting that they felt physically healthier. Nearly 90% indicated that their wellbeing had improved, while more than 70% said they experienced lowered stress levels.

In a larger survey of 30,000 American households, those who were engaged in charitable activities were 43% more likely to report that they were “very happy.”

Now, it should be noted that these studies do not conclusively prove that giving will improve a person’s happiness, but the numbers do support the fact that there must be some psychological benefit to helping others.


A Nice Distraction

If you talk with anyone in the habit of giving, you’ll find that most of them find it is a distraction from their worries or concerns, whether big or small. Focusing on others requires the giver to act selflessly. It can be a humbling experience, especially if the one(s) you’re helping is less fortunate than you.

There are many cancer-related charities and organizations that are dedicated to funding advanced research for cancer treatment as well as supporting cancer patients. You may find that in trying to help others in whatever way you can, you’ll discover an uplifted spirit and a nourished soul.

Scroll to Top