You will already be ‘giving’ as part of your relationships with family, friends, and even strangers. You’ll give time and energy to listen and support; to think about them and offer advice. You will also give to neighbours and strangers, through your interactions and encounters. Your warmth and friendliness will spread positivity and connection.
Have a think - how do you give to the people around you?
For years scientific studies have demonstrated how giving can benefit you. We often think about this as future benefits, and through the lens of volunteering, but you can benefit now and in many different ways. Giving can:
- Create a sense of belonging
- Give you purpose
- Give you perspective
- Teach you to help yourself
- Boost your self esteem
- Create a positive mental attitude
- Extend your network
You probably know all of this from reading articles, watching presentations and listening to anecdotes, but it’s still hard to get going. There are lots of reasons why it’s hard, from time to money, fear to doubt. Finding the right way to give is key.
Behavioural science can tell us how people behave and what we need to take action. Use this knowledge to make a change.
Hints and tips
- Start small: pick up something extra in the supermarket and donate it to your local food bank (there’s normally a trolley or basket in the shop)
- Make it easy: telephone a friend and ask them how they are; put a note through your neighbours door
- Make it your identity: do you people recognise you for your generosity? Make giving a part of your identity
- Don’t miss out on a social norm: people are helping one another now more than ever – be part of the movement
So what’s next?
Don’t be afraid to make it simple and ask yourself:
- Can I help someone or something?
- Who can I help?
- What can I give?
Keep the answers simple, and it’ll make it really easy to start. Tick off the benefits when you feel them and acknowledge what it means to you. Soon giving will become an important part of you looking after your wellbeing.