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What is charitable giving and why is it good for your health?

Charitable giving can be defined as donations to nonprofit organisations that are licensed. An article in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology describes that definition as including any use of your financial resources for others. That includes your expenditures on family, friends, and strangers.

Some instances of prosocial spending include buying coffee or lunch for an acquaintance, buying a bike helmet for your brother and sister, or donate to mental health charity.

Furthermore, the benefit you receive doesn’t depend on your level of wealth or need for financial help. Spending on prosocial or charitable activities has consistently been beneficial to your wellbeing.

What is it about giving money away that makes us feel so good?

A distinguished associate professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University in Canada, Lara Aknin, Ph.D., says prosocial acts may be emotionally rewarding as they reinforce costly but evolutionarily significant acts that strengthen bonds with others. In addition to being the head of Simon Fraser’s Helping and Happiness Lab, Aknin has published over a dozen papers on prosocial spending in her field.

In a report published in 2015 by the International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, she argued that human beings might be hardwired for prosocial and altruistic behavior because tendencies greatly benefit our species. Her work was part of a wider social and evolutionary psychology theory that suggested that human beings were hardwired for altruistic behavior. For more updates , visit:

Quite simply, humans have thrived because – unlike most other animals – we can come together into large interconnected groups of unrelated individuals, according to evolutionary psychology theories, as outlined in this 2015 report on the evolution of psychology. As we all know, there is strength in numbers. The argument can be made that if helping other people did not feel good, there is a good chance that we would not have formed the tribes and later the societies that are the building blocks of civilisations as they did not feel good doing.

What are the benefits of charitable giving to health and well-being?

The amount of money you make may not matter as much as how much you give away. Research has shown that donate to mental health charity increases well-being to about the same extent even when incomes double.

Moreover, according to the 2019 World Happiness Report, which analysed charitable giving and well-being data around the world, one of the six strongest predictors of life satisfaction is donating money — none of which are directly related to income — even after controlling for wealth and other measures of prosperity. 

Spending money on others has been shown to improve physical health and happiness.

Among older adults, three weeks of charitable spending lowered blood pressure scores, according to a study published in 2016 in Health Psychology. According to the study, prosocial spending is associated with improvements in blood pressure, similar to those caused by exercise.

In addition, researchers, who published their findings in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine in January 2021, discovered that prosocial behaviors might reduce stress and inflammation, which can contribute to the development of a wide range of physical and mental health problems. In a recent study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, it was found that prosocial behavior appears to be linked to changes in gene expression, which may enhance our overall health in ways that may improve our mental and physical well-being.