Generosity Cheers Mind, Body and Spirit

Altruistic Acts Activate Happiness Neurons in the Brain




zhuk _ ladybug/Shutterstock.com

A Swiss study gave volunteers $25 a week for four weeks, and told half of them to spend the money on themselves and the others to spend it to benefit others. Subsequent brain scans revealed a link between the altruistic acts and feelings of contentment, activating neurons in the ventral striatum associated with happiness. Even the intention alone to be more generous was enough to create these changes, and the amount spent did not influence the increase in levels of well-being. The discovery sheds fresh light on why many people feel gratified when giving, even when it costs them something.


This article appears in the January 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Eco-Packaging Progress Report

Creative new options include carry-out containers made of wood pulp, baked-goods wrapping paper infused with antibacterial spices, and cardboard made of mushroom roots.

Ease Repetitive Strain Injuries

Any movement we do repeatedly, such as typing at a screen or keyboard, can cause muscle strain and injury, but the right kind of exercises can lower our risk and repair damage.

Kristi Nelson on Why Gratefulness Brings Happiness

It’s not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy, counsels the head of the Network for Grateful Living.

Raw Fruit and Veggies Key to Mental Health

Eating raw fruit and vegetables correlated more with psychological well-being in young adults than eating canned, cooked or processed produce.

Eating Well Protects Hearing

In a 22-year study of 33,000 women, Harvard researchers found that a healthy diet can lower the risk of moderate to severe hearing loss by nearly a third.

Add your comment: