When we unselfishly give, our brain’s pleasure and reward centers are stimulated.  This stimulation reacts in a way, as if we were the recipient of the generous act and not the giver, according to research from Emory University. This phenomenon has been named the “helper’s high” among psychologists who study generosity.  Some researchers believe this sensation is also due to a release of endorphins, the chemicals associated with a “runner’s high.”

Pay it Forward

Acts of kindness inspire others to continue paying it forward.  Unselfishly giving releases a “helper’s high” leading one to continue giving and the recipient inspired to give. James Fowler, professor of medical genetics and political science at the University of California, San Diego, found that a “single act of kindness typically led to several more acts of kindness.”

The scientific name for this domino effect is “upstream reciprocity,” that is, if you pay the toll fee for the car behind you, the recipient of that small act of generosity will be inspired to do a kind act for someone else, and the chain reaction is set in motion.

Even though we know giving makes us feel good, we don’t do it often enough.  People sometimes believe they don’t have the time or resources, or are simply afraid they will experience a loss. They don’t realize that it’s good for them, that it would benefit them and not just others.

Get Inspired 

You do not have to be the giver or the recipient in order to be inspired and experience the “helper’s high.” Merely being a witness of this act can inspire one to begin their own chain reaction. We see these stories in the news or hear about them from others and we are led by example.

Boost your own happiness and practice your own acts of kindness and become a part of inspiring others. These positive emotions are what keeps our hearts open, and our families and communities united!