Pay It Forward on July 15th
It seems, in today’s world, people have more things than they need. The ever-increasing popularity of consumerism encourages people to buy in excess. Even if someone doesn’t need a product, they are often convinced by a brand or a business to make a purchase. As you can imagine, this often leads to people owning more than they need. Many of us are fortunate to have this “problem.” However, there are just as many people who do not have this privilege and struggle to get even the bare minimum. For those that have excess, they often clean their homes and declutter, getting rid of the things that they no longer need. However, instead of throwing these things away, you might have an option that not only helps you declutter your home but also makes the world a better place, and National Give Something Away Day is just the time for that.
Every July 15th, we celebrate National Give Something Away Day. On this holiday, you are encouraged to share your many blessings with others in your community without any expectations. It’s a day to give back to those around you. Whether it’s to a significant other, close friend, family member, or a stranger, use July 15th as an opportunity to put some good into the world. While we all love receiving gifts, gift-giving can impact our mental health in wonderful ways, too.
All across the country, people struggle to get the things they need to live a successful and healthy life. Often, to no fault of their own. On July 15th, we encourage you to join Lifeworks Counseling Center in celebrating National Give Something Away Day.
Who Founded National Give Something Away Day?
National Give Something Away Day began as a grassroots effort by Linda Eaton Hall-Fulcher, who sees herself as a giver. She established the day to encourage generosity in all forms. Hall-Fulcher founded this holiday in 2015, submitting the holiday to the Registrar at National Day Calendar. She wanted to celebrate thoughtfulness, human interactions, and helping those in need by the simple act of giving something away.
Hall-Fulcher established National Give Something Away Day to give people the opportunity to pay it forward. Whether it’s a friend, family member, someone in the hospital, the homeless, children, or families in need, if you can give something away, it doesn’t matter what it is or to who.
The Impact of Giving on Your Mental Health
Whether it’s for our birthdays, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day, we all love getting gifts. However, while receiving a gift is all well and good, giving a gift not only impacts the person you are giving it to, but it also positively impacts your mental health.
Researchers from Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia found that those who spent money on others felt greater happiness than those who spent money on themselves. Individuals especially felt more happiness in that moment that they gave something away. If we go even deeper, we can see the impact on our neurobiology.
Researchers at the National Institute of Health measured the brain activity of individuals who both received and gave gifts. Their findings showed that the areas in their brains associated with reward were activated when giving. When these areas activate, your body releases dopamine, a type of neurotransmitter that plays a role in how we feel pleasure. This dopamine fuels these activated areas, reinforcing certain behaviors. Our brain learns what behaviors activate these regions, so we try to activate them as often as possible through similar behaviors. Their findings suggest that our brains enjoy both giving and receiving gifts.
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute funded another study that found giving, whether time, money, or resources, is positively related to satisfaction in life. Furthermore, the more people give, the more satisfaction they feel. People who give more also have higher self-esteem. Their symptoms of depression and anxiety are reduced, along with their blood pressure and stress levels. A study by the University of Buffalo discovered that people who engage in helping others reduce their mortality rates compared to those who didn’t. Giving doesn’t just impact those receiving something.
How to Celebrate
National Give Something Away Day is a simple and fun holiday to celebrate. All you need to do is give something back to the ones around you. Whether it’s your time, money, or a gift, giving back on this holiday is easy. Here are some simple ways to celebrate National Give Something Away Day:
- Declutter your home. If you have any clothes that you no longer wear, have children’s clothes that no longer fit your kids, or have shoes that no longer fit, donate them to a local homeless shelter. If you have any spare kitchen appliances or canned food you won’t eat, give them to your local food kitchen. Instead of throwing your books away, donate them to a local library or school. Old toys can be given to a children’s refuge house. Whatever you no longer need, look for a place that may need it more.
- Volunteer. Spend the day volunteering. Whether at an animal shelter, homeless shelter, or food kitchen, volunteer your time to show those in need that someone cares for them.
- Give a gift. If you don’t have anything at home to give away, go buy groceries, hygiene products, school supplies, and more and donate them to one of the many shelters and organizations in your area. If you don’t have the time, donate money to a charity of your choice. Every penny counts.
- Give a gift. Is there someone in your life who has been having a rough patch in life? Surprise them with a gift. The gift can be big or small, but the gesture to show that you care goes a long way.
- Help a neighbor in need. Lend a helping hand to a neighbor in need. They may be sick, elderly, or simply overwhelmed with life. Help them in whatever way you can.
National Give Something Away Day is a fantastic chance to make an impact in your community and the world. Linda Eaton Hall-Fulcher founded this holiday to encourage others to give something back to the world, regardless of if it’s a friend, family member, or a complete stranger. Giving not only impacts those who are being helped, but it has a positive effect on your mental health and your mood. Join Lifeworks Counseling Center in celebrating National Give Something Away Day on July 15th.