You are sitting in the drive-thru line at Starbucks, anxiously awaiting your afternoon “pick me up”. It’s your turn. You pull forward to the window salivating for caffeine. Your arm is hanging out of the car with exact change in hand – yea, you have been here before. The glass suddenly slides open and the perky ‘beverage transportation specialist’ declares (in the most energetic double-espresso infused voice) that your Grande was paid for by the generous person in front of you!
WOW . . . the feeling is amazing. You immediately search the universe for meaning in this selfless gesture. Did I do something to deserve this? Is this foreboding of something bad about to happen?? Do I even know the person in front of me???
Just then, the toot of a horn brings you back to reality. With a big wave from her window, your yoga buddy pulls away from the parking lot with a huge, satisfied smile.
So what does it all mean?
It is called “GIVING”. A Harvard University study showed that giving a ‘gift’ lifts the participants happiness, even more so than spending it on themselves. Giving sparks feelings of compassion, love, and respect for each other. Giving is honoring; letting someone know that they matter . . . that they make a difference.
Other studies show that giving affects the biological and physiological processes of the body. It gives us warmth and increases circulation. It even releases endorphins in the brain and taps into our “pleasure center.” You know, the part of the brain that makes you want to do it again and again. Maybe giving is addictive!
Giving also has a profound sociological impact that makes it contagious. When we receive a genuine or unexpected gift, we are much more likely to do the same for someone else. There is great satisfaction in making someones day, month, or year. We are wired to ‘pay it forward’.
Do you remember a time in your life when you were given a gift and how it made you feel? Whether your are on the giving or receiving side, whether it be something big or small, it really is the thought that counts. Let someone know they are special, and you will both feel AWESOME!