The Power of Giving
Have you ever given a gift to someone? Even something small like a card or a cup of coffee in the morning as a surprise, and felt that genuine gratitude and appreciation from them? It’s a pretty amazing thing, the gesture of giving. It brightens someone’s day and lets them know that you are thinking about them. It also seems to absolutely do something for your own spirit and soul. For lack of a better phrase, it gives you the “warm fuzzies.” Holiday giving — taking time to do something for someone else without agenda, doing something to let them know that they are loved — creates a positive energy in those that it touches. The simple act of expressing gratitude for the positive things in your life can help create a positive mood and, per research at Harvard Medical School, help to ward off potential depression and anxiety (this often affects people during the holidays as the “holiday blues”). Below highlights the research of two Harvard psychologists and the power of gratitude and positivity.
“One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.” –Harvard Health Publications
As we approach this holiday season, think about taking some of that time to give. Not giving in a solely monetary way, but your time, creativity, love and, as I mentioned, your gratitude. Not only are these acts a way to brighten someone’s day and your own, but it can also be a way to do something together as a family. This is a way to connect with friends whom you have lost touch with or to provide company to someone who is lonely during the holidays.
Below are some Holiday giving ideas to help you think outside of the giving box.
- Before you eat, go around the table and say what you are most thankful for.
- Smile at people. This simple act can change the tone of someone’s day. Plus, you never know what storm someone is going through so a kind gesture can go a long way.
- Visit a friend or relative that you know doesn’t have holiday plans. Or invite them to join your crowd for an event.
- Have arts and crafts time with your kids. Make holiday cards for your local nursing home, children’s hospital, Veteran’s hospital or other organizations.
- Volunteer at your local homeless shelter to serve food or sign up to bring in a casserole during the holidays.
- Leave a thank you card or even send an email to a co-worker who busts their butt day-in and day-out. Let them know how much you appreciate them and all that they do.
- Write a letter to your spouse, parents, partner, children, etc. Let this be their gift and let them know what they mean to you. Say the things you haven’t said; let them know how much you love them.
Whatever you do this holiday season, find something that gives you joy and spread that joy to others. Happy holidays from the Wellview team!
– LAUREN ORMSBEE, CHC, CEP