Thanksgiving is over. The food has all been eaten. Now the serious shopping begins and we are all-in for the next holiday. In reality, Thanksgiving is often seen as that holiday to get through so we can get to Christmas. But the message of Thanksgiving is so important. The focus in on giving thanks and giving to others–a message that should not be lost the other 364 days of the year.

Did you know that giving provides both physical and mental health benefits to the giver? When we give, the “happiness hormones” in our body are activated. Those hormones and molecules responsible for mood, feeling reward and compassion all come on-line when the act of giving occurs. The warm glow we feel in giving is from this brain activation. The resulting feeling is stronger than a great night on the town or buying a new outfit! Giving blesses others, but also makes the giver feel good.

Several studies support the fact that giving lowers blood pressure and reduces stress levels. According to a University of California Berkley study, if you are 55 or older and give of your time as a volunteer, you lessen your chances of dying over a five-year period! And those who give social support to others do better when recovering from coronary-related events. There is power in giving. The physical body responds.

God designed us to give.  Acts 20:35 says that it is more blessed to give than receive. As you can see, science certainly bears this out. As we get the focus off ourselves, see the needs around us and give unselfishly to others, we experience joy and contentment. Think of it–giving is a win-win. You help others and in turn, your physical and mental health is helped. This holiday season, give, and give generously. But then remember, keep giving all year.

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