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When it comes to philanthropy, the spotlight often shines on the recipients. However, the act of giving is actually a two-way street, offering a surprising array of benefits to donors as well. From mental and physical health boosts to tax advantages, giving is not just altruistic, but also a little-known self-care strategy. Here’s what you should know.

What Are the Health Benefits of Giving?

Better Mental Health

You may not have heard of the mental health benefits of giving, but they are very real. The act of giving triggers a chemical response in the brain, releasing "feel-good" neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. These chemicals regulate mood, induce pleasure, and foster a sense of connection with others.

But that’s not all: studies show that giving can lead to greater self-esteem, life satisfaction, and a lower risk of depression, in part because of how philanthropy can help you experience more personal control in your life. Giving can even help you recover more quickly after you’ve suffered a serious personal loss, like the death of a loved one.

Physical Health Perks

We often underestimate the ways in which our mental health impacts our physical health — for better or for worse. Did you know that giving also offers a 3-pronged advantage in preventing heart disease? Here’s how:

  • First, the mental health benefits associated with giving can lower blood pressure and reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, both of which are major risk factors for heart disease
  • Second, the effect of preventing or mitigating depression can also generally reduce the risk of developing or worsening heart disease, as the two conditions are closely interrelated
  • Third, the mood- and self-esteem-boosting effects of generosity are thought to be a factor in the lower LDL cholesterol and body mass index (BMI) that study participants have been proven to enjoy. Elevated LDL cholesterol and BMI are other risk factors for heart disease.

A Longer Life

Multiple studies suggest that giving can actually lead to a longer lifespan. The sense of giving and heart health benefits that come with philanthropy are strong contributing factors in living a longer, happier life.

What Are the Tax Benefits of Giving?

While the emotional and physical benefits are compelling, let's not overlook the financial incentives. Charitable donations can be tax-deductible, reducing your taxable income and potentially placing you in a lower tax bracket. This financial advantage serves as another motivation to give generously.

Giving is more than a noble act; it's a win-win situation that enriches the giver's life in various dimensions. So the next time you consider donating to a cause or volunteering your time, remember that the benefits extend far beyond the recipients — you're also giving yourself the gift of better health, financial advantages, and a more fulfilling life.

Enjoy a Giving Life With Spectrum Community Services

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives.

Want to enjoy philanthropy even more? Join us on October 29, 2023 for our Savor the Season - Virtual Cooking & Wine Affair fundraiser. Get your tasting ticket today!

Alternatively, support our work and help a senior to remain living independently in their own home by donating today. Your help will ensure so much more than just a meal: it also provides Fall Prevention exercise classes, well-checks, social interaction, and a safe, efficient home that provides dignity and independence. We can't wait to work with you!