Is It Better to Give than Receive? The Research Says Yes

 In Better Life, Communication, Relationships

We’ve all probably heard the adage that it’s better to give than receive. But this isn’t just a saying, there’s actual research that shows this is true for our success and wellbeing.  The “giving” I’m referring to is social support – being there for someone else emotionally, showing you care, and offering help as needed.

When we’re there for our friends, supportive of our family, and encouraging to coworkers, we are actually better off.  Research shows we’re more engaged and satisfied with our jobs and that leads to more success at work. Giving this support also has many health benefits including reducing our stress, lowering our blood pressure, and even helping us live longer.  

Some important points to note – these benefits don’t necessarily hold true for caregivers, who can end up with lower well-being and higher risk for depression. Also, researchers found that receiving was less important than giving support except when received from a spouse or sibling.  

Looking at these studies made me reflect on examples in my own life.  I greatly appreciate offers of help and encouragement from my family and friends, but I also feel really good when I get the opportunity to give to others.  It’s so fun to help my friends remember and celebrate their progress and achievements.  When someone is feeling discouraged, I find it so rewarding to help them shift to see how far they’ve come and how much they’ve learned.  It’s very fulfilling when I can share something I’ve learned to help someone else.

It reminds me of the quote by Zig Ziglar, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

In what ways have you supported and encouraged others lately?  This week try experimenting with offering more social support to others and see how you feel.  What are some examples you could try?


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Tina Hallis, Ph.D. is Chief Positivity Officer of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping people and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures. She is certified in Positive Psychology, an authorized partner for Everything DiSC®, and a Professional Member of the National Speaker’s Association

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