The Art of Giving: How Acts of Kindness are Good for Us

by MedStar Health
December 14, 2018

We all know how good it feels to receive gifts or words of affirmation. However, it can be easy to forget that giving to others makes us feel just as good, if not better.

When considering giving, imagine a double-sided scale in which weight can be applied to either side depending on whether you receive or give an act of kindness. When the receiving side is heavy, it’s important that you balance the scale back out.

For example, one patient at MedStar Washington Hospital Center loved to read but found all of the magazines near his room to be outdated. One of his nurses noticed this and took a trip to the store to buy new ones. The patient was ecstatic—this simple gesture meant the world to him. And you can imagine how good it made the nurse feel to see him so grateful.

We all know that receiving #Gifts or words of affirmation feels great. But what about the benefits of giving? Learn more in the #LiveWellHealthy blog via @MedStarHealth

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The Benefits of Giving

When we give to others, whether it’s volunteering, giving gifts on the holidays, or complimenting others, we can experience several benefits, including:

  • Increased happiness: Those who spend money on others rather than themselves feel happier, according to studies.
  • The ability to inspire others: We’ve noticed that people on the receiving end of gifts typically want to pay it forward.
  • Making an impact: When you give a meaningful gift or experience to someone, you can make an impact in their life by uplifting them. Moreover, volunteering allows you to impact numerous people at once, whether you’re donating food to the homeless or helping build homes.

Some people feel as though they can’t give due to a lack of money. But giving is more about the intent and time you provide someone else. No matter how you provide for someone, it all comes from wanting to help others. In fact, many of our volunteers do so because they've had an experience that impacted them or a loved one—it’s their way of balancing the double-sided scale.

Giving During the Holidays

The holidays are a common time to consider giving. And in the rush of preparing for events and gifts for your family and friends, you can feel as though you have a lot to do.

You can benefit from taking time to consider the things you’re grateful for and then expressing this feeling through the way you help others. When you do this, giving becomes less of “I have to do this,” and more of “I want to do this.”

Related Reading: Four Tips to Help You Feel Thankful—
Beyond the Holidays

Whether you have $20 or $20,000 to spend, remember that it’s the thought and time you spend on gifts that is most important. Some common inexpensive ways to give during the holidays include writing heartfelt, personalized cards and simply spending quality time with your loved ones.

Giving can be an important way to boost your own happiness while helping others. Whether it’s through volunteering or gift-giving during the holidays, make sure it is a priority this year.

Would you like to thank a MedStar Health associate for making a positive impact on your life or a loved one’s life?
Express your gratitude by sharing your story on the MedStar Health Facebook page using the hashtag #GratitudeMatters.

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If you’d like to partner with our grateful patients, families, and friends who are committed to MedStar by making a gift online, visit this page.

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