Research shows that generosity directly benefits the well-being of those who give.
Several studies, including one sponsored by the University of British Columbia, provide evidence that people who give are happier than those who don’t. In the UBC study, donating as little as $5 helped people feel better.
Another study sponsored by the University of Oregon demonstrated that for many participants, giving activates the same pleasure centers of the brain as receiving—which are also the same brain centers involved with addiction.
Furthermore, people who leave money to charity in their wills live three years longer than those who don’t, according to a 2008 study by the U.K. based Fire Services National Benevolent Fund.
Finally, several research studies suggest that generosity is associated with popularity. For example, in 2010 Newcastle University researchers created a game based on giving: the more generous participants also accumulated the most gifts back from others.
— Excerpted from Want to Live Long and Prosper? Donate Now!, by Kathi Jaworski, The Nonprofit Quarterly