The Benefits of Gift-Giving
Have you ever thought about how you feel when you have given a gift to someone that really wanted that gift? Their overabundance of enthusiasm and pure joy for their received gift has always made me feel something inside that I could not understand. I was actually feeling overjoyed by the reaction, by knowing that I caused that unending amount of joy and happiness for another person actually caused me to be so delighted myself! Funny as it may sound, studies from social psychology and neurobiology present solid evidence for the benefits of giving gifts.
So then, why, exactly, do I feel so good? Why does giving a gift to someone make me feel better? Biologically, giving that gift can positively affect me; even make me feel mentally a little high. Researchers from Harvard Business School and University of British Columbia found that in those that both gave and received money, the greater happiness appeared with those that gave! Neurobiologists from the National Institutes of Health measured brain activity among individuals who received and gave gifts. In both cases, areas of the brain associated with reward were activated. And these areas are usually active by dopamine receptors, where they tend to reinforce behavior. Therefore, these findings suggest that brains enjoy both giving and receiving.
However, an addition to this result shows that only when gifts are given, the other region of the brain activated refers to social interactions. Giving gifts may actually make us like each other more than we already do! Can you believe that?! History of gift giving
Throughout history, the practice of gifting has existed since the beginning of human civilization. Researchers believe that even cavemen gave presents like unusually shaped rocks or animal teeth to strengthen social connections or to show their appreciation to others. During pre-colonial times, Native American tribes had potlatch ceremonies where property and gifts were given, confirming the status and wealth of the gift giver. A powerful tribe leader was expected to shower his tribe with elaborate gifts. In ancient Egypt, the deceased were buried with goods or gifts required for the afterlife. They would include bowls, combs, food, while wealthier Egyptians would be buried with idols, amulets, jewelry, and valuables. Why Do We Give Gifts?
Gifting has become a social norm, where our culture feels it is required, such as the special Christmas season, birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s Day, and even when visiting family members and friends. We often give gifts to re-confirm our connection and relationship with others. Gifts also symbolize love and devotions between two partners.
Some gifts are given with no expected return, such as giving to children and even pets. Giving gifts to help others through donating money or volunteering for a charity is a wonderful way to increase dopamine production, thus making us feel exceptionally good. Interestingly, research found that men were more generous with gift giving to attract and retain mates for the short and long term. On the other hand, women were more likely to give gifts to family and friends to strengthen social networks. Types of Gifts
Researchers from the University of California proposed four main gift types:
* Gifts that are symbolic of the self and the giver
* Gifts that are symbolic of the giver’s knowledge of the receiver
* Gifts that are symbolic of the occasion
* Gifts that are expressive and contain an array of significant meanings
I agree with these for the main types of gifts, because I think it encompasses all the different ways we want to give. Actually, I took that reasoning of gift-giving and how it would make us feel good about ourselves.
When I had decided to go into the business of natural bath and body products with Lizush, I was adamant about making sure all my products were natural so that there would be far less negative effects on the customers, due to synthetic chemicals or the additives. Plus, I wanted to do my part for the environment by using sustainable packaging and minimal use of plastics. It was important that as much as I possibly could, I wanted my packaging to be biodegradable, using cardboard for the outside packaging, and using glass to individually package the products. When I began getting feedback from my customers, it brought me such overwhelming joy that I was making a significant difference in their lives. Lizush natural bath and body products are wonderfully soothing and actually do make a difference for you physically as well as emotionally. And to top it off, giving it as a gift to those you love will only further engulf you with elation and joy! Go Lizush!
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