This is usually that time of year when our hearts turn toward helping others. I know it’s 2020, and everything that was up is down, but I think we can still eek out our urge to be generous while masked and remaining socially distanced.
No matter how you feel about the holidays, I can tell you one sure way to make them work for you — by practicing generosity. It does not matter what you do. Whether it’s buying toys for underprivileged kids, checking on shut-ins or supporting food banks, the act of reaching out is one of the best returns on investment to be found. Here are some ways that being generous this season can actually benefit you.
Generosity actually makes you healthier. Studies show that being generous lowers blood pressure by as much as 40 percent. It also lowers your level of stress and reduces anxiety. Supposedly, it can lower your cholesterol level, although I’m not sure if that can counteract all the extra holiday sweets. In short, a giving heart is a healthier heart. And generous people tend to live longer. A study from the University of Buffalo found that doing things for others is directly related to a longer life.
Generosity makes you — and those around you — happier. Don’t you think generous people are fun to be around? They aren’t just generous with their checkbooks — they’re also generous with their time and talents. They make others feel good. And more than that, their generosity is contagious. Generosity makes us feel good, and when we feel good, we’re better at making those around us feel good as well.
But best of all, giving to someone you don’t even know lets them know that they matter. Your actions provide a message of hope to someone in need. So, let’s spread that message of hope around this holiday season. If you can’t figure out what needs to be done, as always, Ask The Chamber. We just put out our big box in the lobby for Toys for Tots. I’ve already contributed to several local food drives. And the chamber has a list of all the nonprofits in the area who will certainly be grateful for any help you can give them.
And I gotta tell you, The Observer News is a prime resource for what’s going on in the area. Between the two of us, we’ll get you headed in the right direction. And I’ve been in this area long enough to know that there is a generous spirit in this community. So, I’m just going to thank you in advance for all you do.
Lynne Conlan is Executive Director of the South Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce. Call her at 813-634-5111, or email email@example.com.