Addiction is generally considered a bad thing. However, a new research study suggests that if you think about times you've been helpful or generous, you will want to repeat that behavior.
A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that thinking about what we’ve given, rather than what we’ve received, may lead us to be more helpful toward others. Reference
What this means to me (the more independent, I'll-do-it-myself sort) is that I need to accept help and people's generocity more often. Giving and helping make people feel good. We know that. Now if I accept the help and be appropriately thankful, then this will help set a foundation of helping for that person that may increase the likelyhood that they will give again.
A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that thinking about what we’ve given, rather than what we’ve received, may lead us to be more helpful toward others.
New research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University finds that women from virtually every income level are more likely to give to charity and to give more money on average than men, after controlling for education, income and other factors that influence giving.
“Looking at giving across five different income groups, which range roughly from $23,000 to $100,000 a year, it is clear that it is not only wealthy women who give,” said Debra J. Mesch, Ph.D., director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. “Women across nearly every income category give significantly more than their male counterparts – in many cases, nearly twice as much.”
The Women Give 2010 report finds that "In every income bracket except for one, women give more than men. The most dramatic differences are in the lowest, middle, and highest brackets where women give almost double the amount of men. The exception is women in the second lowest income bracket ($23,509 to $43,500), who give 32 percent less than men."
Notably this research was done in households of single people to isolate the gender differences in giving. Giving in married or partnered households was not examined.
However in an attempt to make the data applicable to the partnered/married households the researchers compared never married women to never married men and found that women are almost 10% more likely to give than men. Then comparing divorced females to divorced men, women are 21% more likely to give than men; comparing widowers to widows, women are 6% less likely to give than men.
I talk a lot here about claiming your abundance. For me, that means resting securely in the notion that I really do have all that I need. Yea-- I would like a swanky new redesign of my kitchen. Yes, I would like hardwood floors. Yes, I would like to wear cute outfits everyday. But the fact that I don't have those things in no way diminishes my contentment.
"Emboldened by a Web site that challenges consumers to live with just
100 personal items, Ms. Strobel winnowed down her wardrobe and
toiletries to precisely that number.
Her mother called her crazy.
Today, three years after Ms. Strobel and Mr. Smith began downsizing,
they live in Portland, Ore., in a spare, 400-square-foot studio with a
nice-sized kitchen. Mr. Smith is completing a doctorate in physiology;
Ms. Strobel happily works from home as a Web designer and freelance
writer. She owns four plates, three pairs of shoes and two pots. With
Mr. Smith in his final weeks of school, Ms. Strobel’s income of about
$24,000 a year covers their bills. They are still car-free but have
bikes. One other thing they no longer have: $30,000 of debt.
Ms. Strobel’s mother is impressed. Now the couple have money to travel
and to contribute to the education funds of nieces and nephews. And
because their debt is paid off, Ms. Strobel works fewer hours, giving
her time to be outdoors, and to volunteer, which she does about four
hours a week for a nonprofit outreach program called Living Yoga."
The article goes on to discuss research on the effect of spending behavior on levels of happiness. This is definitely worth a read. Basically, there is a fair amount of research that money that allows you to meet basic needs significantly impacts levels of happiness. Money that is spent for extras--- loses its bang for the buck.
"One major finding is that spending money for an experience — concert
tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco —
produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old
stuff. ...Another reason that scholars contend that experiences provide a bigger
pop than things is that they can’t be absorbed in one gulp — it takes
more time to adapt to them and engage with them than it does to put on a
new leather jacket or turn on that shiny flat-screen TV. "
I spent a number of years buying whatever I wanted and spending money in whatever way I saw fit. Our family's decision that I should work from home to take care of our Doodlebug until she got into school has been a challenge for me. I personally derived a fair amount of self-worth and self-efficiency out of earning a substantial salary and paying for things with my own money. Who I was as a person did not depend solely on my salary and stuff, however, I would routinely choose to forgo investing in people in favor of making sure my income was secure. The light went off for me a few years ago when I looked back, to a luxury shopping spree I worked and saved for. Strangely, I don't remember much about the clothes I bought on my Sak's shopping spree. I do remember the nice clerk,however.
The thing about this that resonates with me is that the experiences that the researchers talk about usually
involve other people. So at some level, you have to listen to and
relate to others. For me, I now understand that this creates a richness and just adds to my sense of feeling blessed and having more than I truly need.
So, if we are going to have a silver lining from this recession... then I hope it is that we all will re-learn what our grandparents knew. Time on the front porch, laughing, and having a beer with family and friends is better than diamond earrings. Furthermore, finding simple ways to help those who don't have the basics will help you feel like and rest in the idea that you live abundantly.
All summer I have had my Doodle Bug coloring and putting stickers on lunch bags for kids in our area who rely on someone to bring them what is likely their only meal for the day. Poor girl... she's just 2 1/2 and I've already got her doing her part.
Older kids can do stuff too... click here to read about the Lemonade Kid. It is important for kids to learn early that the little things they do make a difference. And it is never to late to learn the important lessons that helping another person can give you.
Since my Doodle Bug knows the Auburn Fight Song and her lovie is orange and blue, perhaps a new goal for her is to make it into the Auburn Villager news for doing something for someone else.
Few of us are immune to the frustrations and challenges of daily life—family problems, conflicts at work, illness, stress over money. When we get depressed or anxious, experts may recommend medication and/or therapy. But a newly emerging school of thought suggests that a simple, age-old principle may be part of both the prevention and the cure: Help others to help yourself.
Great summary article of a few research projects that look into the health benefits of giving. The good thing about this article is that it also gives good information on the other side of the coin - when giving is bad for your health. Additionally, the articles suggestions prove that giving doesn't have to be costly.
October 15th has been selected as the day when bloggers all over the world put on their "Do Gooder" hats and blog for a cause. Well-- that's not a new thing here at Dollar Philanthropy.
So, I'll keep this short...
Poverty is a bad thing. However, each of us needs to be sure that we do not allow it to shape our judgements and definition of people who must deal with it's consequences. Poor people are just like us. It is just that their poverty creates the situation where they lack access to resources many of us take for granted.
Access to health care
Access to food
Access to clean water
Access to shelter
Access to clothing
Access to education
Access to advocacy
Just to name a few....
I think my many years of caring for and working with people with schizophrenia has made the issue of homelessness one that speaks to my heart. I know first hand the undeserved suffering that people with severe and persistent mental illnesses go through. So today I challenge you to do two things
The next time you pass a homeless person on the street, look at them with caring and compassion. Notice the dirty clothes, take in the smell of a person who does not have access to a shower, look at their thin, gaunt face, and if they happen to be talking nonsense or appear mentally ill, take a moment to recognize and understand that you are just seeing the results of poverty. For if this homeless person had access to shelter, food, clothing, and adequate healthcare, he or she would be more able to find a compassionate, helping community to get their life back in order.
Consider donating to a cause that helps people get their lives back. As usual I have a couple of suggestions:
Send Your Dollar Today!
MUST Ministries is an organization that has a wide array of services that meets people where they are and also provides assistance to keep people from becoming homeless. They operate a shelter, food kitchen, food pantry, health clinic, transitional housing, clothing closet, prevocational training, and emergency monetary assistance.
Holy Comforter is a parish in Atlanta where about 60% of their congregation lives with mental illness. Many of the congregants live in group homes or other supported living situations. In response to a dramatic decrease in state funding of services for this population, Holy Comforter offers a day program 2 days a week where 80 to 125 people with mental illnesses can participate in a variety of activities including painting, ceramics, gardening, weaving and woodworking.
Holy Comforter's staff and volunteers provide a compassionate and caring hand to help people get their lives back.
You can mail donations to:
Rev. Mike Tanner Holy Comforter 737 Woodlawn Avenue Atlanta, GA 30316
The Charles Bronfman Prize is an humanitarian award of $100,000. It
celebrates the vision and talent of an individual or team 50 years of
age or under, whose humanitarian work has contributed significantly to
the betterment of the world. Its goal is to bring public recognition to
young, dynamic individuals whose Jewish values infuse their
humanitarian accomplishments, provide inspiration to the next
Over the last few years, Bronfman Prize judges have considered hundreds
of qualified nominations from around the globe -- young women and men
whose diverse range of humanitarian efforts includes ground-breaking
applications of medicine and science, education, human rights, conflict
resolution, community development and compassionate care.
What They Are Looking for:
Today’s heroes who serve as an inspiration for the next generations.
Next generation leaders who have a vision for change that will better the world in a meaningful way;
Nominees who have created a mechanism for acting on their vision in ways that deliver measurable results; and,
Nominees who exhibit innovation, leadership and impact in their chosen field.
or teams, not organizations. We want to hear about the individuals who
created the visions on which the organization is based.
Nominees who are 50 years of age or under by December of the year of nomination
So if you know someone who is a good candidate for the Bronfman Prize, please visit the website for nomination information and forms.
Thanks to Nonprofit Online News for introducing me to Don Griesmann. I've long been a fan on small to mid-size nonprofits. Mostly because they are the troops on the ground and that they are extremely nimble and able to efficiently and quickly meet the needs of those in their communities.
OK-- I know I promised not to turn this into a Mommy blog--- but I just have to share. Our new little one attended her first charity event in February. The event was a fundraiser for Our Pal's Place and was held at Kokosphere Gallery in Roswell, GA.
Here's a picture of her with her Uncle Aubie -- who toted her around most of the evening.