Monday, June 18th, 2018

3 Ways Sharing Will Make You Happier

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giving receiving happiness 276x300 3 Ways Sharing Will Make You Happier

From one of Baby Boomer Talk’s favorite sites DailyGood.org.

“The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have.”

- Leonard Nemoy

Excerpted from 7 Ways Sharing Can Make You Happy by Jill Suttie

Though it might seem that there’s not much in the way of silver linings in these dark economic times, there is at least one: as people learn to make do with less, they are discovering the many benefits of sharing. Car-sharing, babysitting cooperatives, and tool lending are just a few of the many creative ways people are eschewing ownership and learning to share the goods and services they need.

But sharing can do more than just save you a buck. New psychological research suggests that sharing fosters trust and cooperation in the community and contributes to personal well-being.

Here are some of the ways that sharing can boost your happiness levels:

This is a Power 3s List.

1. Sharing involves reciprocal giving, and the research is full of the benefits of giving, from greater physical health to personal happiness.A 2008 study by Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton and colleagues showed that giving a sum of money away to someone else lifted well-being more that spending it on oneself.

2. Sharing increases positive social interaction with others, which can prolong your life. Sharing can bring people together who in other circumstances might not meet. According to Paul Zak, humans have an innate need for social connection, and participating in sharing sites like SnapGoods or Groupon can help people broaden their base of friends and acquaintances. “Sharing helps us to reach out to others,” he says. “It’s an excuse to engage with someone whom you’re helping at the same time.” And research has shown that having positive social interactions is central to good mental and physical health. In a 2010 meta-analysis of previous research, Julianne Holt-Lunstad of Brigham Young University and colleagues found that having stronger social ties and less social isolation significantly prolonged one’s life. As researcher John Cacioppo writes in his book Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection 3 Ways Sharing Will Make You Happier, “The more extensive the reciprocal altruism born of social connection….the greater the advance toward health, wealth, and happiness.”

3. Sharing invokes gratitude, and gratitude is highly correlated with happiness. Not only is giving beneficial, but when one feels grateful for the exchange––a natural consequence of receiving help in the form of sharing––this also increases personal happiness. Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, co-directors of the Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness, found that teaching college students to “count their blessings” and cultivate gratitude helped them to exercise more, be more optimistic, and feel better about their lives overall. Barbara Fredrickson, one of the pioneer researchers on the roots of happiness, suggests that cultivating gratitude in every day life is one of the keys to increasing personal happiness. “When you express your gratitude in words or actions, you not only boost your own positivity but [other people’s] as well,” writes Fredrickson. “And in the process you reinforce their kindness and strengthen your bond to one another.”





Bonus: Sharing involves cooperation, and cooperation has been essential to human flourishing. The urge to cooperate goes way back in human evolution, according to primatologist Franz de Waal, author of The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society 3 Ways Sharing Will Make You Happier. Early humans banded together for hunting, collecting food, caring for offspring, and warning off predators, which increased their chances of survival. Even Charles Darwin, often credited with promoting “a survival of the fittest” worldview, wrote extensively on the benefits of cooperation in the animal world. We humans care about the welfare of others almost from the day we are born. As Alison Gopnik of UC Berkeley writes in The Philosophical Baby, researchers have found that even children as young as 14 months old will try to lend a hand to an adult without being prompted if they perceive that the adult needs help. Sharing and cooperation are natural aspects of human behavior, and the more we engage in them, the more we are being congruent with our biological inheritance.

If you want to live a longer, healthier life, maybe it is time to share your time, talents, or money today.

This quote from Coach John Wooden sums it up…”To have a perfect day, do something for someone that they cannot possibly repay.”




Grab Sonja Lyubomirsky’s Book on Amazon.com The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want 3 Ways Sharing Will Make You Happier

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