Is it really better to give than to receive?
Normally you are given plastics joining expertise and words of wisdom to solve your plastics assembly problems when you read our blog. This post is more on topic with the upcoming holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Both holidays revolve around giving and receiving. Thanksgiving often involves partaking in a lovingly prepared meal and sharing thoughts about why we are thankful and giving thanks to those we love and are grateful for. Christmas is a time for gift-giving and sharing good times together. Well… since we are plastic geeks and enjoy the technical side of life, that leads us to look to the scientific side of giving and answering the question, “Is it really better to give than to receive?”
You may associate gift-giving with shopping aggravation and gift-hunting for the person that seems impossible to shop for. However, there is confirmation in support of the oft-repeated passage, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.1 Yes, it seems science confirms this. Social psychologist Liz Dunn, as reported in the journal Science2, shows that people’s sense of happiness is greater when they spend more on others than on themselves. This pattern is found across all income levels. So even if you have little money to spend, you will be happier if you spend proportionally more on others than yourself. This same study even showed that we as individuals expect to be happier after spending on ourselves but end up happier when giving to others. So it seems it is better (if you consider more happiness to be better) to give than to receive. A self-serving materialistic attitude does not bring happiness, but spending more on others than yourself is a path to happiness.
So let’s all spread happiness to others by focusing on giving and in turn have more happiness in our own hearts this holiday season. Full circle on the technical side again…as I channel my inner mathematician, it seems that this might actually be a perpetual happiness machine. We focus on giving and end up making ourselves and others happy. They, in turn, are motivated to give to others and make themselves even happier and on and on it goes!
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Drew is a mechanical engineer who has evolved into a plastics geek over 20+ years of injection molding and plastics-joining experience. His NCAA bracket is seriously busted. He is looking forward to summer days and stand-up paddle boarding on Lake Michigan.