Why Giving Makes You Happy and the Health Benefits

Why Giving Makes You Happy and the Health Benefits

As it turns out, “giving” is the gift that keeps on giving! Emerging research shows that it really is better to give than to receive…at least from a health perspective. But why is generosity good for health? Below we go over why giving makes you happy and the health benefits of giving to others.

Happy to Give

Most people will agree that it feels good to help others. But that’s only part of the story. Research shows that giving is more than just a good feeling. Giving is good for both your mental and physical health because when you give, your brain secretes “feel-good” hormones like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine.1 There’s even research showing that givers tend to live longer than non-givers.2

According to TrustBridge Global, one of the largest philanthropic networks in the world, generosity not only helps people potentially live longer, but it also helps people feel happier and less stressed.3 

A 2022 study featuring college students found that volunteering was positively associated with better psychological well-being including self-acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, purpose in life, and personal growth.4

Research shows that volunteering helps support mental health in many ways including enhancing confidence and self-esteem.5

A 2013 randomized controlled trial showed that volunteering can positively support heart health as well.6 A 2020 study looking at volunteering and heart health demonstrated that volunteers were better able to support overall heart function including cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass index compared to non-volunteers.7 

Lots of Ways to Give

While the purpose of giving is to benefit others, it also benefits the giver. And it doesn’t have to involve giving money. In fact, most of the research regarding the benefits of giving looks at donating time through volunteering.8

You can do good for others not only by volunteering but also by donating blood, food, or household goods. Consider planting a tree, adopting a pet, or putting up a little free library in your neighborhood. There are many ways to give back to others in need. In the process, you get the gift that keeps on giving.

Generosity and giving isn’t the only thing that comes with health benefits, kindness can go a long way too. And if you’re looking to support your health in all fronts, try Daily Boost. It’s a high potency multivitamin with a probiotic boost to support your gut health, immunity and energy levels. 

Follow @zhou_nutrition for more fitness and wellness tips!


  1. Cleveland Clinic. Why giving is good for your health. Health Essentials. 2022;Dec 7. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-giving-is-good-for-your-health/
  2. Heng Q, Konrath S, Poulin M. Which types of giving are associated with reduced mortality risk among older adults. Personality and Individual Differences. 2020;154. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0191886919306002
  3. TrustBridge Global. Giving: science proves it’s good for your health. 2021;Apr 22. https://www.trustbridgeglobal.com/blog/2021/3/25/giving-science-proves-its-good-for-your-health-3-physical-and-mental-benefits-of-giving
  4. Geng Y, Chen Y, Huang C, Tan Y, Zhang C, Zhu S. Volunteering, Charitable Donation, and Psychological Well-Being of College Students in China. Front Psychol. 2022;12:790528. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8777250/?report=reader
  5. Lockard T. How volunteering improves mental health. National Alliance on Mental Illness. 2022;Feb 2. https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/February-2022/How-Volunteering-Improves-Mental-Health
  6. Schreier H, Schonert-Reichl KA, Chen E. Effect of volunteering on risk factors for cardiovascular disease in adolescents: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA Pediatrics. 2013;167(4):327-332. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/1655500
  7. Estrella ML, Kelley MA, Durazo-Arvizu RA, et al. Volunteerism and Cardiovascular Health: The HCHS/SOL Sociocultural Ancillary Study. Health Behav Policy Rev. 2020;7(2):120-135. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7875250/?report=reader
  8. Yeung JWK, Zhang Z, Kim TY. Volunteering and health benefits in general adults: cumulative effects and forms [published correction appears in BMC Public Health. 2017 Sep 22;17 (1):736]. BMC Public Health. 2017;18(1):8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5504679/?report=reader