Benefits of Giving Back During the Holidays

Today is Giving Tuesday. A psychologist explains the mental health benefits of giving back to others during the holidays season.

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CLEVELAND – Today is Giving Tuesday, which is a great time to give back to those in need.

And as an added perk, it can boost your mood too!

“Helping other people is an example of a win/win situation,” said Susan Albers, PsyD, psychologist for Cleveland Clinic. “Not only does it benefit the receiver, but it also creates a boomerang effect where the positive impact comes back to you, boosting your physical and your mental health.”

Dr. Albers said studies have shown those who volunteer may have lower blood pressure, live longer, and tend to be happier. 

She explains that when you help someone, your brain secretes “feel good” chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. 

It also releases the hormone oxytocin, which makes you feel connected to other people, along with endorphins. 

She said that’s why it’s often referred to as a “helper’s high.” 

And no act of kindness is too small. There are many ways to give back this holiday season. 

“Making a financial contribution is one way that you can contribute to a cause that you care about or a non-profit. You can also contribute by volunteering your time, your energy, your skill, your expertise, to a local organization such as a food pantry or an animal shelter,” Dr. Albers said.

She said volunteering also gives you the chance to meet new people and provides you with a sense of purpose. 

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