One of the biggest drawbacks of being extremely frugal, like myself, is that you can often hold on a little too tight to your money. While this is great in situations where you say no to $650 designer shoes, I've learned that I also need to loosen up on my cash when it comes to being generous with others.
Whether it be leaving a generous tip or giving to charity, when it comes down to it, you have to give in order to receive. Being stingy with your money results in creating a "have-not" mentality that will translate into restricting to what also flows into your wallet.
If you're familiar with the famous "Think and Grow Rich" ideology, then you know what I'm talking about. When you're able to give freely without stressing about it, you're opening the gates for it to come back around.
Other than this important mentality, here are some other amazing benefits of generosity:
Social psychologists have studied stingy people, and it turns out, they have higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. It's a lose-lose situation; not only are they stressed about parting with their money, but when they decide to be stingy, they get heightened stress resulting from the SHAME of being so damn stingy.
If you're one of these poor souls, loosen up. Leaving that one extra dollar in tip, or donating that $10 to your niece's school, isn't going to put you in debt. In fact, it could make a big difference to someone else AND help you feel better about yourself.
You Are Happier
Giving has also been linked to the release of oxytocin (a hormone that's also released during sex), which induces feelings of warmth, euphoria and connection to others. This chemical reaction, when constantly repeated, improves well-being and life satisfaction and is also linked with decreased depression.
Not only that, but generosity is a natural confidence builder and repellent of self-hatred. Not only does it make us feel better about ourselves, it also actively combats feelings of isolation by fostering feelings of social connection.
Yes, it's true; giving promotes a sense of trust and cooperation that strengthens our ties to others, and research has shown that having positive social interactions is central to good mental and physical health.
As researcher John Cacioppo writes in his book, "Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection,"
The more extensive the reciprocal altruism born of social connection [...] the greater the advance toward health, wealth and happiness.
Giving monetarily is a great way to help you reflect on all that you have to be grateful for, including your ability to give and be generous with others. Not only will your own positivity be boosted, you will also have evoked gratitude in the person you've affected.
It's a beautiful cycle that studies have shown is proven to have a "pay-it-forward" effect. Your one simple act of generosity could set off a domino effect of kind acts affecting hundreds of people.
With so many reasons to give, the next time you start feeling stinginess creeping into your brain, say, "No, stinginess, I will not let you mess with my good karma and positivity today. Today, I will be generous and amazing and so f-ing happy."
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