“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
God is a generous Father who loves to give freely. He calls His people to be like Him: generous and giving to those in need. Not only does giving benefit the receiver, but there are also physical benefits for the giver as well. Dr. Linda Mintle explains the impact on giving on our bodies and brains.
“When people give freely, there are a whole bunch of feel-good chemicals that are secreted in the brain. Serotonin which is a mood-mediating chemical it lifts your mood. Dopamine is the chemical that helps people feel reward. Oxytocin is a hormone of compassion and bonding.”
Giving activates these chemicals and as a result we experience what is called a warm glow. This builds associations of pleasure, connection and trust with other people.
“People who give score much higher on feelings of joy and contentment.”
There are also proven physical benefits to living a generous life.
“Studies show the act of giving lowers blood pressure, lowers the tendency towards depression, because it lowers stress levels. It creates better happiness, and increases self-esteem. One study found people who were 55 and older who gave or volunteered their time and effort were less likely to die over a five year period than people who didn’t do those things.”
“God made us and wired us a certain way. When He gives us an imperative — He says you need to do this, test me with your money, sacrificially give to the needy, to the people who need help — when people do that, they’re going to get a blessing back in their physical and mental health.”
“They’re going to feel more joy and more contentment in life. That is such a good deal! Why would you not do that?”
Many times, fear holds us back from giving. We’re afraid we might not have enough for ourselves, so we cling tightly to our possessions. However, when we see our resources as gifts themselves entrusted to us by God, it becomes easier to trust Him to meet our needs.
“God’s got this. When I get my life right, when I’m obedient to Jesus, I’m transformed by His Spirit, and when I’ve got the mind of Christ in me, following the Holy Spirit, He’s going to supply all my needs. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).”
“When I have a sense in my heart that God is telling me ‘here’s a need, you can give to this need,’ I want to be obedient every single time. And every single time I’ve done that, I have just felt a sense of joy, first that I was able to do it, and that what I was doing was helping others.”
Dr. Linda Mintle is a licensed marriage and family therapist, a licensed clinical social worker and national expert on relationships and the psychology of food, weight and body image. With 30 years of clinical experience working with couples, families and individuals, she brings her common sense approach to people who want to live in positive mental health.The psychology of giving