Everyone’s heard that generosity is a good thing, but not everyone knows that generosity does more than make you feel good: it’s actually good for your health. 

What does that mean? 

It means that if you do good to those around you–volunteer, donate, lend a helping hand–then your health will thank you for it. 

Here are a few ways generosity has been demonstrated to improve physical and mental health: 

  1. People who regularly give their time or money to causes are up to 63% more likely not to suffer from insomnia or sleep apnea.
  2. People who are regularly generous also have elevated antibody levels and are therefore more capable of resisting disease and infection.
  3. Elderly people who volunteered regularly were 44% less likely to die over a five-year period than their non-volunteering friends. 
  4. Volunteering later in life can also reduce older adults’ risk of developing dementia.
  5. States with the highest rates of volunteerism also had the lowest rates of heart disease.

The body’s chemicals are largely responsible for the benefits generosity has to health. 

Acts of generosity release feel-good chemicals, like serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. These chemicals in turn combat symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

Likewise, people who are regularly generous show considerably reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to those who are not regularly generous. 

Not to mention, generosity is contagious and those who receive another person’s generosity are much more inclined to be generous to others. 

The campaign

Recognizing generosity’s measurable positive effects on physical and mental health, Halcyon recently embarked on a “Generosity=Good Health” campaign with the goal of convincing people to care more about generosity and be more generous in their daily lives.

We designed a short quiz to inform, convince, and encourage behavior change in participants.. We put the quiz in front of people all over the world, gathering responses from Portugal, the United States, Italy, and more.

The results 

Unfortunately, the campaign was not successful. The objective was to spread awareness of the positive health effects of generosity: we had hoped that by affirming generosity as a positive characteristic and giving a secondary rationale for it, that might incentivize people to want to learn more. 

But, it appears that our audience is less engaged by “positive” topics than “negative” ones. That is to say, while past successful campaigns have addressed a societal problem about which there is already some surrounding IQ (i.e. smartphone use, clothing waste), this campaign was not connected to a glaring social issue. 

When presented with a 10-question quiz on the generosity issue, only 2.79% of people who viewed the quiz made it to the last question. While 855 people viewed the first question, only 75 people viewed the second question. By the third question, viewership dropped to 55. Only 31 people responded to question 10. 

The results were shocking, compared to the other campaigns Halcyon recently ran focused on negative forces in society.

A small victory is that, of those 31 survey submissions, 30 clicked the outbound resource link.

What you can do

If you want to learn more about how generosity can benefit your health and take steps toward being more generous, you can start today by taking some simple steps:

  1. Take our short quiz! 
  2. Check out the resource link at the end. 
  3. Share the quiz and what you have learned with your friends, and start giving! Generosity comes in many forms. Volunteer, donate, lend a helping hand, even a smile!
  4. Donate! By donating to The Halcyon Movement, you help us create awareness about important societal concerns and generate positive behavioral change.