There are a lot of great quotes out there, letting you know how giving makes you feel great.  For instance,
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
― Anne Frank
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
― Barack Obama
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
― Charles Dickens
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
― John Holmes
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
― Maya Angelou
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
― John Bunyan

But it there any scientific evidence that this is true?

Feeling Good about Giving

According to Psychology Today,

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Humans are social animals, so it is no surprise that we are wired to help one another. In our complex modern society, there are many ways to give and the good news is that we now understand that both the giver and receiver benefit from the relationship. Neuroscience has demonstrated that giving is a powerful pathway for creating more personal joy and improving overall health.

While the brain is remarkably complex, the neurochemical drivers of happiness are quite easy to identify. Dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocinmake up the Happiness Trifecta. Any activity that increases the production of these neurochemicals will cause a boost in mood. It’s really that simple.

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So if giving allows us to secrete all the chemicals at once, we owe it to ourselves to give as often as possible!

Helping others can take on many forms. Small repeated boosts of the Happiness Trifecta will produce the most benefit so find ways to give and to give often. Opening a door, helping a stranger change a tire, donating money or time, and giving advice are all wonderful ways to give. Anytime we step outside of ourselves long enough to help someone else, something wonderful is waiting for us when we return: the Happiness Trifecta neurochemicals are all boosted!

Helping others triggers impacts to our brain in many positive ways:

  • Empathy: There are structures in the brain that are dedicated to helping you see things from the perspectives of others, so these mental processes get some great exercise when you put yourself in the shoes of another person and try to give them what they need.

  • Mirror Neurons: Helping others is often a highly social activity, which creates a beautiful cycle of smiling. When you smile the whole world smiles with you because you are triggering their mirror neurons. Both the giver and the receiver can directly impact the others brain in a positive way.

  • The Happiness Trifecta: Helping others triggers a release of oxytocin, which has the effect of boosting your mood and counteracts the effects of cortisol (the dreaded stress hormone). Interestingly, the higher your levels of oxytocin, the more you want to help others. When oxytocin is boosted, so are serotonin and dopamine!