The Gift of Giving

Director’s Notes – December 2018

Bower Knowledge

As we come closer to Christmas and the anticipated well-earned rest of the holidays, we plan gifts for our family, friends and colleagues. As much time can be spent thinking, discussing and anticipating as finding the gift and certainly more than it takes to unwrap it.

A study conducted at the university of California explored the effect of both giving and receiving by assigning employees in a company to three groups; givers, receivers and controls. Givers engaged in five kind acts over four weeks for a personalized list of receivers. Both Givers and Receivers demonstrated short term benefits on weekly measures of competence and autonomy and after two months Receivers were happier, and Givers less depressed and more satisfied with their lives and jobs. Additionally, Givers’ prosocial acts encouraged others with Receivers repeating acts of kindness with 278% more prosocial behaviours than Controls.

So, it’s official; practicing everyday prosociality is emotionally reinforcing and contagious by inspiring kindness to others, while receiving is an unequivocally positive experience. Now back to the Christmas list.

Psychology & Psychiatry Journal; Atlanta [Atlanta]07 July 2018: 201.

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