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The positive mental health aspect of giving

21st December 212 mins
By Toucan

The positive mental health aspect of giving

They say money can’t buy happiness. But if you spend it wisely, maybe it can. 

It has been suggested that prosocial spending – that’s spending money on other people, rather than yourself  – can boost your emotional wellbeing and provide other health benefits. 

Research shows, for example, that spending money on charities was linked with increased happiness levels, whereas money spent on personal expenses did not affect them. 

Many studies show the positive impact that compassion and giving to others has on our overall wellbeing. Not only this, but the NHS has devised five tried and tested steps to promote better mental health, also known as their five ways of wellbeing, which includes giving to others. 

Giving, in all its forms, not only benefits those you help. It can give a sense of purpose and positively impact our overall wellbeing. But it’s not just mental or emotional benefits that can be felt; there are physical benefits too. These can include decreased blood pressure, lowered stress levels, and increased self-esteem. 

In the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all been affected in some capacity, whether it is emotionally or physically. However, it has also been a time where we have seen many acts of selflessness. Despite their own personal situations, some went above and beyond, encouraging others to do the same thing. Remember when Captain Tom walked 100 lengths of his garden in aid of NHS Charities Together, and how he inspired many to do similar challenges? This is the ‘contagious’ effect of giving, promoting others to do the same, and bringing a sense of gratitude. 

When you stop and think about it, it’s odd that giving away money would make someone feel good (when they could use that money to benefit themselves). So why is that?

It is about people wanting to help create change. By donating money to charities in need, it reduces the feeling of helplessness and instils hope - which ultimately benefits our wellbeing. 

So how can you give in ways that benefit you and your wellbeing? Here’s a couple of pointers to keep in mind: 

  1. Give to causes you care about

  2. Give in ways that let you see the impact of your gift

  3. Give to cause you are socially connected to

Using the Toucan app, you can easily donate to causes that matter to you, and you’ll be able to view the impact that your donations have made. 

The decision to spend money on others seems to pay meaningful dividends, but it’s important to ensure you are giving what is manageable for you. 

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