Generosity Cheers Mind, Body and Spirit

Altruistic Acts Activate Happiness Neurons in the Brain




zhuk _ ladybug/Shutterstock.com

A Swiss study gave volunteers $25 a week for four weeks, and told half of them to spend the money on themselves and the others to spend it to benefit others. Subsequent brain scans revealed a link between the altruistic acts and feelings of contentment, activating neurons in the ventral striatum associated with happiness. Even the intention alone to be more generous was enough to create these changes, and the amount spent did not influence the increase in levels of well-being. The discovery sheds fresh light on why many people feel gratified when giving, even when it costs them something.


This article appears in the January 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

OolaLife

Oola (originating from the word “oo-la-la”) is a lifestyle based on the international best-selling book, Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World.

Hidden Nature Jewels Enhance Urban Livability

A spot of hidden City land along a stretch of the Trinity River’s Elm Fork, in-between I-35E and Storey Lane, in northwest Dallas comprises acres of heavily wooded, boggy bottomlands located where Bachman Branch joins the river.

Eat Right to Sleep Well

Rather than popping a pill, eating certain foods can kick-start hormones that help us get a long, deep night’s sleep.

We Need Clean Waters

Efforts are underway around the country to make polluted waterways clean again and to instill local appreciation for their many helpful roles.

Peter Gros on Preserving Wild Nature

The wildlife expert explains why we should appreciate wolves, snakes and bats and what he finds encouraging about an enlightened focus on wildlife protection.

Add your comment: