Health Wellbeing

Why does giving make us happy?

‘We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.’ Sir Winston Churchill

This November and December the Wellbeing spotlight is on Give, but why is giving so good for our wellbeing?

Why does giving make us happy? The science behind the fuzzy feeling.

Quite simply – we get ‘helpers high!’  Undertaking a kind act stimulates the release of neurochemicals in your brain’s reward centres that improve emotional wellbeing and reduce stress in the long term. Pretty cool.

Evolutionary biologists even have theories as to why we have this reaction. Cooperation and helping others is good for survival of the species, so we are wired to feel good when we do something altruistic. Prof James Mcinerney explains the biology behind our instinct to give in this video (sorry about the Christmas theme in November, but the video is good).

Bottom line? Helping, giving, sharing – doing something for someone else has been proven to make us feel more positive and increase self–worth (and probably ensure the survival of the species). This is why ‘Give’ is an integral part of our six ways – and why we’re encouraging you to think about what ‘giving’ means to you – and your wellbeing.

It’s the little things!

Giving doesn’t have to be about grand gestures, and it definitely doesn’t have to be about money. Whilst it’s been found that money spent on others increases happiness – the amount doesn’t matter! (Dunn el al. (2008))

How can you give?

Give your time: Volunteering is a great way to give. The University and the Students’ Union  both have plenty of opportunities to help you find the right kind of volunteering for you. And, if you don’t have the time or space to commit to regular volunteering, check out the volunteer days where you can give a few hours on a specific day working on a specific project.

Random act of kindness: Think about how good it feels when someone holds a door open for you, or lets you out in traffic. You can easily do that for someone else! Let someone in front of you in a queue, give a compliment or even buy a stranger a coffee.  It’ll make their day and release all those neurochemicals in your brain. Win for everyone.

For more information on the six ways, see Student Support

Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday 27 November, the world will celebrate Giving Tuesday, an international day to do ‘good stuff’ and to recognise what is already being done. Across the campus there will be plenty of opportunities to mark the day and discover new ways of giving. Pop along to:

Making a Difference Fair – Renold Building, 11.30am – 2.30pm

Meet a variety of organisations and discover volunteering opportunities and ways to give.

SwapShop – Renold Building, 11.30am – 2.30pm

Bring along unwanted clothes, shoes, books, gifts, toys and homeware and swap them for charity. Entry is £3, or £1.50 if you have items to swap.

HeartStart CPR Traingin – Barnes Wallis Building, 12.15pm and 1.15pm

Learn some emergency lifesaving skills at one of these interactive sessions. We’re running two sessions: one at 12.15pm and one from1.15pm. Signup here!