Tis the season for giving.

Retailer JC Penny has an ad campaign this season called #JustGotJingled. To kick off the event, they asked shoppers whether it was better to give or receive. Not only are the responses heart warming, they’re a great reminder of what this season is all about.

John Stamos got in on the fun, too. And just in case you were looking for another reason to love John Stamos, here you are:

So which is better? Giving or receiving? Science has the answer.

In a post called The Habit of Generosity: 3 Ways Giving Beats Receiving, Michael Hyatt compiles three studies that provide a little insight:

Like expressing gratitude, there is a lot of research that generosity enhances the life of the giver. Here are three big ways generosity improves our lives:

  1. Generosity makes us happy. Giving our time and money to others gives us an emotional boost. Why? According to researcher Christian Smith it’s because feeling good is a product of doing good. It’s built into our neurochemistry.

    And it’s true across cultural and economic lines, too, according to a Harvard Business School study. It’s just part of being human.

  2. Generosity improves our relationships. In a study of generosity and its effect in marriage, researchers found that the recipient of generosity expressed high levels of marital satisfaction, but so did the giver.

    “[P]articipants’ reports of behaving in a generous fashion toward their spouse were linked to their own reports of marital quality,” said the researchers. “The extension of generosity toward the spouse was positively related to their own reports of marital satisfaction. . . .”

  3. Generosity lowers stress. This example might be a stretch, but one study I read found that being stingy might actually raise our stress levels.

    After hooking people up to heart monitors, researchers found that when they felt they were giving too little in a transaction it actually drove up their stress levels. Being generous, on the other hand, kept stress down. It’s like the Golden Rule in action.

So there you have it. For a happier, less stressed life, find ways to give. As one of the gentleman in the JC Penny video pointed out, giving is not about material objects, it’s about giving what you have to offer. Whether that’s time, love, skills, being generous is a good way to do life.

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