Researchers at the Harvard Business School conducted a study and found it is possible to buy happiness, at least, when its spent on others.
Individuals surveyed said they felt notably happier when they spent money for a gift for another or made a charitable donation rather than spending it on themselves.
One way of looking at it is happiness is an equal opportunity experience for both parties involved — the giver and receiver.
With age, I’ve learned all kinds of things. The light bulb moments are flickering more now than ever. One of the ‘ahh haa’ moments I now understand is the meaning of “it’s better to give than to receive.” This applies whether it’s a material gift, the gift of time or a word of encouragement. When anything is given in love it’s, of course, good for the recipient but better for the giver.
One afternoon while spending time with some mentally challenged young people, I noticed them giving all kinds of love — through demonstrations of a kind word, a hug, an offer for assistance with something or simply holding a special place in line. What was clear to me is the more they loved the happier they were. Simply put, loving made them happy. Not one of them held back or was inhibited in expressing it either.
All of us should attend the local Special Olympics for a great example of happy people, giving gifts of happiness. Most all of them wish each other good luck on their competition and congratulate each other with the most bubbly, enthusiastic praise at the finish line.
Sadly people are spending big money looking for ways to be happy — buying all kinds of self-help books and gadgets. Many are looking for it in all the wrong places when what they should do is spend a little time with an individual or a group of individuals who know how to “do happy.” A lot can be learned by viewing those who demonstrate the power of giving away happiness.
At my church, Mount Olive Ministries, we have started a Community Care ministry. Every week, members and guests give donations, separate from the offering, to help families in the community with a need. Some need assistance with meals, medical treatment, paying a bill — even burying a loved one. It has taken off rapidly and is such a glorious success because the givers are being blessed by giving.
Are you looking at things in a negative or positive way? If it’s not positive, you may need to do some adjusting to the attitude and consider becoming a bigger giver. The best way to get happy is give happy away.
Be a generous giver of happiness by doing something nice for a family member, a friend and a stranger today. Volunteer a few hours with a church or a charitable organization.
Look at your to do list right now. Find five minutes to call and schedule a time to volunteer a few hours this week or make a monetary donation to help someone in need.
Keep on the lookout for ways to give. Don’t wait for someone to ask. When you see a need, meet it by giving.
And since God loves a cheerful giver, give with a smile on your face. Before you know it the ‘happy’ you give away will come back to you.