It feels like we were literally just celebrating the new year, right? February is right around the corner and we literally just discovered that January is National Thank You Month.
Well, according to Tracy Packiam Alloway, Ph.D., director of the Center for Memory and Learning in the Lifespan at the University of Stirling, UK, there are a few reasons why we should give back to the community by showing thanks.
1. It boosts dopamine. In her Psychology Today blog, she wrote, “Did you know that giving of your time or volunteering can release the same feel-good sensation as eating chocolate or a candy bar. Dopamine is the feel-good chemical that is linked with pleasurable experiences, such as enjoying a good meal or spending time with a close friend.”
And apparently brain scans have demonstrated an actual surge of dopamine when people give or volunteer time, better known in the biz as “the helper’s high.” (Sidebar: It’s no wonder why many companies promote volunteerism — we can only wonder how the helper’s high transforms itself to boost productivity back at work.)
2. Motives matter. As she pointed out in her piece, giving back to the community may seem pretty selfless on the surface but people do it for different reasons. Maybe it’s to get out of the house, meet new people or feel good doing things to help others but one study indicated people who volunteer to help others live longer than people who don’t volunteer!