Leading health experts tell us it pays to be generous, but is that really a surprise?
We’re social animals, and by developing, cherishing, and being kind in our communal ties we can directly influence our health — but the exact reasons may surprise you.
The fuzzy-feeling of generosity can actually promote a cascade of psychophysiological wellbeing. As we’ll explore, ‘being kind’ systematically improves our cognitive and physical health, and is perhaps a most authentic and truly human way that we can engage in the mind-body relationship.
This is hardly a selfish take on good deeds. Civilization has relied on compassion and generosity since ‘day one,’ contributing to our higher order intelligence, and as now are learning, the farthest reaches of health as well.
It all starts with a little thoughtfulness. Whether that means sharing a meal, or lending a hand to someone in a bind; when we do ‘good’ we’re actively empowering a happier outlook, all while brightening another’s day too.
Jumping to be Kind
All common sense right? In reality, it’s the potent antidepressant effects of generosity which are most surprising. Research suggests that people who practice kindness benefit from reduced health risks; the happier outlook and daily mood-boosts are reported to trickle into lessened incidences of heart disease, diabetes, viral infections, and reduced biomarkers of inflammation — just to name a few. 
Nothing selfish there, it’s built right into our DNA. See below five of our favorite ways to practice generosity:
1) Clean for a Loved one — We all have at least one friend or family member with no time left in the day. They may not complain, but you know they have it rough. Give em’ a call with these five words, “Let me clean for you.” Don’t take no for an answer! You’ll hear the relief in their voice.
2) Land a Friend a Job — Know someone with a well-deserving work ethic, but no recent luck? Tackling the job market is always a little easier with some extra brain power. You could offer to help them with a resume, practice an interview, or help them dress for success. Whatever you do, get them amped up!
3) Lend both ears (for more than a minute) — Not everyone gets the chance to vent like they need. Even if you ask someone how they’ve been, you’re not likely to get the whole scoop. So, next time you ask make sure they know you’re ready to listen. Stay present and give the same attention you’d hope to get. Actually listen.
4) Give 3 Huge Compliments — Doesn’t matter who or how, just make sure they count! See a stranger with a great outfit? Ask them how they designed it! Impressed by your server’s dish-carrying dexterity? Give em’ the props they deserve! Speedy cashier? Commend their hustle! You get the idea.
5) Compassion Meditation — Also called ‘metta’ or ‘loving-kindness,’ this type of meditation directs practitioners to imagine unconditional, unwavering compassion for others. By using the imagination to play-out generous acts, greater patience, and understanding, you’ll have wider bandwidth for daily kindness. You’ll also be more equipped to help others in stressful situations.
When we’re generous, we feel wealthy in spirit. If you ask us, that’s a great addition to a balanced and healthy lifestyle, and its one that doesn’t have to mean a cash donation or sharing things you barely have enough of yourself.
Instead, when you think about generosity, remind yourself there’s boundless ways to be kind. It costs nothing to make someone’s day with your compliment, encouraging enthusiasm, or undivided attention. Especially if you feel limited in these expressions of kindness, it’s a smart idea to get outside of yourself and find ways to change that.
The bottom line
You can choose from the practices we mentioned, and even give them each a special day in your monthly calendar. If nothing else, think of acts of generosity that would be genuine and practical within your own life and plan at least a couple days each month to knock them out.
As social animals it’s suggested that we need to participate with one another through kindness in order to optimize our cognitive and physiological health; it’s simply built into our biology — not only will you feel more fulfilled, there’s good reasons to believe this habit has profound outcomes for our longevity.
As always, even if you’re an enthusiast or just starting out, matcha makes a great daily fuel for the practice of generosity. Its calming, focused energy helps center our thoughts and prioritize what’s important.
It even makes for an endearing gift for loved ones, an act of generosity in its own right!