Photo by Cory Doctorow
The idea comes from a study published in 2008 where participants were given an envelope of money and asked to spend it by 5pm the same day. Each participant was assigned to either a personal spending group, where they had to use the money to purchase something for themselves, or a gifting group, where they had to give the money away. It turns out that by the end of the day, those who spent money on charity rated happier than those who spent the money on a personal expense.
There are a few different theories as to why this might help elevate happiness and alleviate stress. One is that donation can help reduce your body’s stress levels by lowering cortisol, one of your stress hormones. Other ideas include a feeling of social connectedness and the sense you’re making a difference. Hit up the full article for more examples and studies.
Worried About Money? Give Some Away [Psychology Today]