The Psychology Of Gift-giving: Why It Is Important

The Psychology Of Gift-giving: Why It Is Important
Since time immemorial, gift-giving has been part of human relationships. Even today, the exercise continues to be a perfect way to express feelings, gratitude and compassion for one another.
Be it appreciating a job well done, marking important days with friends and family, saying thanks, sending get well wishes, offering good luck, donating to charity or volunteering, gift-giving creates a connection between the giver and the receiver. 
And adding graduation wishes from makes the gift even more special.
While anyone would like to be the one receiving, studies show that even the giver benefits from this act. So, why is it psychologically important to give?

1. Promotes a sense of purpose

Giving creates a connection between you and the receiver. If for instance you volunteered at the homeless shelter or donated to a charity, you feel as part of that cause which is part of a greater good released to humanity. Being part of a larger purpose, however small, creates a sense of purpose and meaning in life, which plays an integral part in mental health. People with a greater purpose in life always view life with a positive lens, are confidence and their self-image is improved.

2. Enhances the general outlook in life

Giving back to the less fortunate opens your eyes to see and appreciate the blessings that you have in life. The realization that people benefit from the gifts that you have given makes you feel thankful for those gifts. A renewed sense of gratitude gives you a positive outlook of life, and can also cause other people, who your giving created bonds with, have this effect. When you are grateful for past blessings, you do not take what you have for granted and you feel more optimistic and hopeful about the future. All these feelings are associated with happiness, which reduces depression and stress.

3.  Increases happiness

Giving involves understanding what the other person wants and gifting him or her with a gift that will strengthen your bond more. For instance, if you had personalized rings made for you and your partner, you would be so eager to have him or her open the box and see it. Even before you see the reaction, your brain is already set to experience the joy of giving. Just thinking of the thought of having personalized rings and the thought of a better relationship sends ripples of joy to your heart. Gift-giving stimulates the mind to secret feel-good hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin, which are responsible for happiness, boosted moods and feeling a sense of compassion.

4. Prolongs life

Studies have shown that giving prolongs the life of the giver by far. The people who offer social support to others are not only helping the receivers, but are also benefitting from lower blood pressure. Giving time in social support creates bonds and encourages interaction between the giver and the receiver. This kind of supportive interaction is known to help patients with coronary-related illnesses recover. Helping others promotes compassion, and people who are compassionate often have lower stress levels and reduced heart rates, which are essential for a healthy heart.

5. It raises a generous generation

When you give, you unknowingly inspire others to give, and they in turn inspire a larger number, creating a ripple of generosity in the community. The feeling of happiness doesn’t only happen to the giver and receiver, but the observer too. There is joy that comes with people watching others do good to the less fortunate. Oxytocin drives euphoria, enhanced connection and empathy, which in turn increases generosity and the need to change the community.

6. Increases spiritual growth

Being compassionate and giving gifts, time or money improves the anterior cingulate function. This is the part of the brain dedicated for thinking, attention, memory and motivation as well as compassion, empathy and prayer. The more you give, the more your brain is inclined to these feelings. Prayer especially is a core element in spiritual growth, and when it is enhanced, you grow tremendously in spirituality.


As shown above, you have a lot to gain when you form a habit of giving. The more you give, the more these benefits will be multiplied in your life. The next time you think of giving gifts or volunteering, know that you are doing a greater good for your physical and mental health. In addition, you will be inspiring others to give, creating an even more healthier community.
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