As we come to the end of this year, you have probably been thinking of any final gifts you might want to give to your church or Christian organizations. Here is an interesting fact: generosity is good for the soul. Arthur Brooks has discovered that people who donate to charities are happier and healthier.
In the past, I have quoted from him and his book, Who Really Cares? He wrote that many years ago when he was a professor at Syracuse University. He has continued to follow giving patterns and discovered even more about people who give and how it affects them in positive ways.
He reminds us that Americans are givers. If you total the amount given to various non-profit charities and houses of worship, you end up with a dollar figure greater than the entire GDP of Israel and Denmark.
As you might predict, contributions increase as wealth and income increase. Women give more than men. Married people give more than singles. Religious Americans give more than secularists.
We are also finding that giving and happiness are strongly correlated. But does giving cause happiness, or do happy people just give more? Giving brings happiness. One study concluded that “the amount subjects spend on themselves was inconsequential to happiness, while spending on others yielded significant happiness gains.”
Other studies show an improvement in health. One study found that “volunteering significantly lowers the association between stressful events and death.” Another study found that dedicated volunteers live longer than those who do not volunteer their time.