Do you know the “feel good” feeling you get when you do a good deed for someone else? According to a study conducted in Zurich, that feeling of happiness has a neural basis within the mind. The study shows how acts of generosity trigger a response in the brain that creates the feeling of happiness.

Although you are not supposed to give in order to receive, it turns out that there can be no escape from such a concept. Because giving makes us happy, the brain can be wired to do just that: give, over and over again.

Of course, in a society where we are taught not to be selfish, this can be a counter-intuitive notion. But one has to wonder: is it really so selfish to feel good?

Consider the study in Zurich, which involved an experiment with 50 people.

According to studies, generosity can cause excellent effects on the brain

Volunteers commit to spending money on others for an agreed time. The other group, meanwhile, spent money on themselves. The results were consistent. The researchers found that the group that pledged to give away money reported being happier than those who spent money on themselves.

And the most remarkable, perhaps, the degree of happiness of the members of the generous group, was independent of the amounts of money they spent.

In addition, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans revealed that an area of ​​the brain linked to generosity triggered a response in different parts related to happiness.

And with the way the brain works, once you get the “taste” of a “feel good” brain chemical, it wants more. It’s like the statement, “hard work is its own reward,” but in this case, feeling good about helping others serves as the reward that the brain seeks.

Think of the mutually beneficial results. The beneficiary is happy because they get something. They also have knowledge that someone was thinking of them, which could add an extra dose of joy. And the giver, having given, also feels good. In this scenario, an upward cycle is created where people help people and feel good about it.

With the benefits overwhelming for everyone involved, it’s hard to justify labeling this behavior selfish. And there could be more than just creating a cycle of happiness.

Being generous is key to survival as a species

Experts have indicated that social support is often overlooked as beneficial to health. And what’s more , a generous behavior cycle could also be key to our survival as a species , according to Psychology Today . This moves for humanity, a welfare network, a health community.

” Generosity and happiness enhance individual well-being and can facilitate social success, ” the researchers wrote. “However, in everyday life, people underestimate the link between generosity and happiness and therefore overlook the benefits of spending” on other people.

Perhaps we all need to add a substantial dose of doing acts of kindness for others in our daily lives. The results would really be worth it.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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