“To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.” ~ Buddha
Late summer is a incredibly abundant time of year. Those of us who’ve done our spiritual work throughout winter’s recovery, spring’s rebirth, and early summer’s momentum now get to really experience the fruits of our labor.
By its very nature, abundance is the result of selflessness. Although it may seem selfish to focus on your own spirituality and personal growth throughout the year, it is truly selfless to make an effort at becoming the very best version of yourself.
When you are your best self, everyone else benefits. When you are your best self, you are in the highest position to help others and to touch their lives in meaningful ways.
This August, allow yourself to recognize how you’ve nearly come full circle in this annual cycle of growth. You are in the midst of the season of abundance, and you have the power to accelerate it by recognizing what you have to give back to the people and causes that matter to you the most.
Abundance begets further abundance. Here’s why you should spend these last few weeks of summer giving back.
Giving Back Enhances Happiness
In a Harvard study where researchers examined the mental/emotional effects of money, they found that those who reported spending more of their money on others also reported experiencing greater levels of happiness. Spending money on themselves, however, showed no real impact on happiness.
Giving Back Has Physical Health Benefits
Offering support and assistance to those who need it may actually help to extend your life. Researchers followed the lives of 423 older couples over a five-year period and found that those who reported offering no instrumental or emotional support to others doubled their likelihood of dying over that five-year period compared to those who helped support their partners, friends, relatives and neighbors.
Giving Back Inspires Others to Do the Same
Giving back to others inspires them to pay it forward. In a study, researchers split participants into groups of three and showed them either a nature documentary, a comedy clip, or an uplifting Oprah show segment. Those who watched the Oprah segment experienced emotional elevation and were also more likely to go and help others afterward.
Giving Back Strengthens Your Connection With Others
We’re social creatures, and those of us who feel emotionally isolated tend to experience more negative emotions—including stress, anxiety, and even depression. When researchers conducted three studies on charitable donations, they found that those who spent money on others or donated to charity experienced the greatest feelings of happiness when their act of giving fostered social connection. In other words, giving to a worthy cause via a friend, relative, or other social connection evokes more happiness compared to simply making an anonymous donation.
Giving Back Strengthens Your Sense of Gratitude
Giving comes from practicing gratitude. The more you have to be grateful for, the more inspired you’ll feel to give back, and the more you give back, the more abundance you’ll attract. Abundance—whether it comes in the form of happiness, health, social connection, or something else—is the key to growing more and more grateful every day. The more you give, the more you get, and the more gratitude you’ll naturally experience to keep the cycle going.