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Gratitude and Generosity

By Karen Vally on 22 Nov 2023



The build-up to Black Friday and the way in which it has been extended from the initial one day only, into a whole weekend and in some instances, into a whole month, got me thinking about the concept of "giving" rather than "getting." What if we were to, "give one every time we got one"?

What if, during the Black Friday season, all store owners launched a campaign in which they provided opportunities for customers to "give" something every time they" got" something?

"Gratitude and generosity co-exist within us. We cannot nurture one without building up the other. Each quality shapes our mindset about, and our posture toward, being in this world."

"The simple act of practicing gratitude disrupts negative thoughts and changes our mindset to see the world in a positive way."

The very privilege of opening our eyes each morning presents us with a golden opportunity to begin our day with a sense of gratitude. By taking a moment to acknowledge the gift of life, we are making a valuable contribution towards our mental and physical well-being. By integrating a gratitude practice into our daily routine, we actually alter the neural pathways in our brain that encourage us to be more altruistic.

In 2017, Christina Karns, a neuroscientist at Oregon University, conducted an experiment. She set out to determine whether there was a different response in the brain when a person gave or received a gift, and whether their characters played a role in this response. What she discovered, was that the group that demonstrated, via a questionaire, that they were more altruisitic, registered a stronger response in the reward areas of the brain.

She then went a little further in her investigation, by dividing the participants into two groups. The first group were requested to journal about the things for which they were grateful. The second group were instructed to record arbitrary occurences in their lives.

The first group demonsrated a deeper level of gratitude and were more inclined to give generously toward charities than they were motivated by their desire to acquire money for themselves. 

"Practicing gratitude shifted the value of giving...It changed the exchange rate in the brain."

It is clear that generosity and gratitude "go hand in hand." Those who are acutely aware of all that they have in comparison to others, often respond in loving, caring and generous ways. I know that many of you reading this blog right now, give generously of your time, talents and resources.

"Gratitude is a response to my belief that my life is enough. It's not perfect, and it's not finished, but it is good and worthy of my thanksgiving. My life has potential. My life contains all kinds of gifts."

Let us share those gifts with others.    



 

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