5. Giving makes you feel great—no matter what you give
People who make an emotional attachment to the person receiving their gift tend to experience the greatest health benefits. “We now have evidence which indicates that volunteering generates as much in the way of health benefits as diet and physical activity,” says Graff. However, any kind of giving will boost your wellness. “Whether people are engaged formally in volunteer activities or just reporting generally high levels of giving in relationships, it really doesn’t make a difference,” Post explains.
Studies prove that even writing a check can cause your body to react in a positive way. One study conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. monitored their subjects’ brain functions using MRIs. They found that the people who anonymously gave donations of money to the charities of their choice had feel-good reactions in their brains, similar to the ones people experience when they receive monetary rewards.