“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
~ Albert Einstein
Whether it’s making a donation to a charity or simply buying a gift for a friend, I have always found that giving back is the best “feel good” technique. There are millions of people in the world who are much less fortunate than us, so why not help them out a little. There are tons of foundations and charities that are set up to help make the connection to those less fortunate, but they can always use more donations.
Even a small donation can make a difference. According to one charity, $1 per week (or $52 per year) can buy twenty weeks of lunches for a homeless person, three hours of respite care for a cancer patient, and three flu shots for an uninsured senior citizen. Now think about how much a single “specialty coffee” drink costs at Starbucks: around $4. Say you buy three a week… that’s $12 per week on coffee. A donation of $10 per week ($520 a year) can buy fifteen cases of nutritional supplements for HIV and AIDS patients, six months of health education and awareness for a refugee community, and training for one volunteer to work with the terminally ill. When that is such a small and disposable amount of money to us, why not use it for something better than coffee?
Not only are you helping other people, it has also been proven to make you feel good. “Researcher Stephen Post says helping a neighbor, volunteering, or donating goods and services results in a “helper’s high,” and you get more health benefits than you would from exercise or quitting smoking” (Yes!).
So next time you go to buy something for yourself, put some money aside in a donation fund or buy a small gift for a friend having a bad day. Best of both worlds: give a donation as a gift. There are many organizations that are set up to allow this type of purchase, such as Heifer International. I received one of these donations as a gift from my grandmother every Christmas and I can remember feeling great every time I opened the envelope.