Your Financial Guide to Gratitude: Why Giving More = A Joyful Life
When do you feel the most joyful?
Maybe it’s when you’ve just woken up on the weekend without an alarm clock, the sun is peeking through the clouds, and you have no plans for the day other than to be outside. Or perhaps you’re happiest when you’ve just spent the day cooking for your family or eaten a delicious meal at your favorite restaurant.
There are many moments in life that can spark joy for us, and one of the times when we feel the happiest is when we give back to others.
Unfortunately, giving back financially can be a difficult task for many of us. When you’ve budgeted your month’s paychecks down to the penny, and it seems like bills and necessities are going to take it all, it’s challenging to find enough wiggle room for giving. But we’re here to tell you that you can participate in giving to others — even if money is tight.
If you’re looking for creative ways to give back to your community or curious about how giving can add more joy to your life, then you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll look at why it’s important to adopt a positive money mindset in your life, how you can give back to your community on a budget, and the science behind why it feels so good to give to others. Let’s get started!
What Is a Positive Money Mindset, and Why Is It Important?
People generally look at money in two different ways.
They either have a negative attitude toward money, which is known as a scarcity mindset, or they have a positive attitude toward money, which is referred to as an abundance mindset.
If you live your life with a scarcity mindset, you constantly fear losing the money you currently have and never feel like you have enough. Living with this negative mindset is like holding onto a fistful of sand — the tighter you squeeze, the more you lose.
On the contrary, adopting a mindset of abundance opens the door to new opportunities and allows you to be more open with how you manage money. Instead of tightly holding onto what you earn, you utilize your finances as a tool to grow your wealth and benefit not only yourself but the people around you as well.
Changing your view of money from something you need to hold onto tightly into a tool you can use to create a better situation for yourself and others is a significant step toward being more financially giving.
The more you understand that money is a resource you can use for the betterment of those around you, the more gratitude and joy you will experience from giving to others.
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Where Do You Find the Money to Give to Others?
Just because you’ve adopted an abundance mindset doesn’t mean you’ll instantly be independently wealthy, and it’s still essential to maintain a realistic view of your finances.
Even if you don’t have copious amounts of extra money in your bank account, that doesn’t mean you cannot give to others around you. Setting aside a little bit of money from each paycheck adds up over time, and you’d be surprised at how much you can give back to your community with the small amount of money you save throughout the year.
For a general example, consider how much a specialty cup of coffee costs if you go to a local coffee shop or Starbucks around the corner. It’s usually around four to five dollars, right?
(We know that people use the coffee analogy a lot, but it paints a great picture.)
If you decide to forgo your morning coffee run just once a week, you could set aside a substantial amount for charitable giving. Let’s just say you’re spending $4.50/cup x 52 weeks out of the year — that’s $234 you could dedicate to helping out a local charity per year!
Choosing to give what you would typically spend on a luxury, like buying coffee from a coffee shop, doesn’t significantly impact your budget, and that $234 could go a long way in the right hands at a nonprofit.
How Do You Choose the Right Organization to Focus Your Giving?
You don’t want to be stingy with your financial giving, but that doesn’t mean you need to donate to organizations without knowing how they impact the world.
It is important to choose to support a nonprofit that resonates with your beliefs and responsibly handles its donations. You want to ensure the money you donate actually goes to the cause that the organization says it’s supporting and isn’t going into the pockets of those who run the nonprofit.
Thankfully, you don’t need to be an expert researcher to discover whether an organization aligns with your values or not.
The first thing you should do before donating to a nonprofit is visit their website. Reputable organizations place transparency at the heart of their values and want you to know where your money is going. Look for pages that detail how they handle finances and links to the charity’s annual reports. These will give you significant insights into how they use your money to support their cause.
There are also useful tools online that help you determine if an organization aligns with your values. Sites like Charity Navigator and GuideStar research hundreds of charities to find out how they handle their donations. With their guidance, you can easily understand what nonprofits are supporting and what their financial data looks like.
Ultimately, your financial giving should reflect your core beliefs, and you should be confident in the fact that the nonprofits you support are doing what they say. A little bit of research will give you the peace of mind that you are supporting the right cause.
Why Does Giving Back to Your Community Feel So Good?
Whether you’re offering your seat on the bus to someone who needs it more than you or writing a check to a local charity, giving feels good. We all get that warm, fuzzy feeling when we help someone else out, but why does it actually happen?
What is the science behind that rush of joy we receive when we give back?
The Undeniable Feeling of “Giver’s Glow”
To understand why giving to others feels so good, you must start by looking at how our brain processes giving. According to research conducted by Stony Brook University, our brain triggers our body’s reward system when we give to others.
When you give someone the perfect gift or donate to an organization, your brain rewards you for those actions by releasing “feel good” hormones that create a sense of happiness and inner peace, dopamine and oxytocin. The result is what researchers define as a “giver’s glow” — that look of pure joy when a person gives to someone else.
The next time you catch someone performing a random act of kindness for someone else, glance at their face. We guarantee you’ll see a smile.
Generosity Has Physical Health Benefits
If the incredible feeling that washes over you when you give to someone else isn’t enough, giving can also help you live a longer life.
Studies show that those who give to others have reduced symptoms of depression, lower stress levels, and a lower mortality rate than those who don’t. One study performed by Carnegie Mellon University showed that people who volunteer for at least 200 hours a year lowered their blood pressure by 40 percent!
You may not have the time to volunteer at the moment, but sharing your wealth triggers the same responses in your body. That means the more you give, the more likely you are to notice similar health benefits as volunteering your time.
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How Does the Law of Attraction Tie into Financial Giving?
If you aren’t familiar with the Law of Attraction, the basic premise is simple — the more you give, the more you receive.
When you give, the universe has a way of returning that gift back to you. If you say, “I want more money!” The universe will respond by wanting your money. But if you approach the world with the mindset of, “I want to give!”, then you will receive giving in return.
The key to living by the Law of Attraction is approaching it from a humble and selfless perspective. Giving of yourself can’t be fueled by selfish thoughts like, If I give back, I know that I’ll receive a reward. Instead, you need to donate your time or money with the idea that your giving is already rewarding.
Adopting a positive mindset and approaching life with a giving attitude will attract others to you, and that attraction will open doors to new opportunities. Your reward may not be a measurable response to your giving. For instance, you won’t be directly rewarded with a check for four times the money you just donated.
However, the rewards you gain from manifesting abundance can be far greater than you ever imagined.
Still Unsure About Financial Giving? Don’t Worry!
At the end of the day, you need to make the most responsible decision for yourself. Sometimes financial giving isn’t a suitable medium for you to give back to your community, and that’s okay!
Your bank account isn’t the only thing that can help you make a difference in the world. There are many other ways you can change the world around you, like giving your time and talents to others.
Maybe you have a few extra hours a week that you’d typically spend catching up on your favorite TV shows or scrolling through your news feed on social media. Instead of spending that time alone, find a local charity to get involved with. Local food banks, animal shelters, and building projects, like Habitat for Humanity, are always looking for willing volunteers.
You could also find ways to help out nonprofits that go beyond supporting their cause by donating your unique talents. Perhaps you are skilled in website design, and your favorite organization could use a boost to its online presence. Reach out to them and offer to donate your skills to increase their virtual reach.
There are many ways to give back to your community and help nonprofits make a more significant impact — you just need to look for them. Start by asking yourself, “What can I contribute to those around me?” Then go from there!
Live a More Joyful Life by Giving Back Today!
Whether you donate financially or donate your time and talent, you will make a difference in the world around you and experience the joy that comes from giving back.
Always remember that you don’t need to write a massive check to a major nonprofit organization or go on an expedition to an underserved area to create an impact — you just need to give what you can. Small donations and actions over time make ripples that lead to significant change.
Discover the joy of giving by locating a nonprofit that resonates with you and helping their cause today!