By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer
Today a dear friend, who has a very generous spirit herself, shared a great resource, The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose.” This book that explores the science behind the relationship between giving and well-being. The book is timely in this holiday season with emphasis on giving and gifting.
The Amazon page describes the book as focusing not only on material giving to others, but on the many forms that giving can take. Authors Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson explore and illuminate the impact that giving has on people. This book explains the The Paradox of Generosity study and uses data from an extensive survey of 2,000 Americans, over sixty in-depth interviews with people across twelve states, and analyzes over 1,000 photographs and other visual materials. This study shows a consistent correlation between demonstrating generosity and leading a better life. According to the study, the more generous people are happier, suffer fewer illnesses and injuries, live with a greater sense of purpose, and experience less depression than less giving individuals.
I appreciate that the study did not measure giving solely through monetary means. Anyone can benefit from generosity, even if a person has little material wealth. Giving one’s time and energy, sharing a kind thought or simply giving undivided attention to another versus being preoccupied with one’s self, can be a form of generosity.
Working Well Massage has many corporate clients who make generous donations to charities, schools and communities. We value our client’s privacy and so we do not divulge their names nor their giving records, but we are proud to ally with our corporate partners and we celebrate their generous spirits! We at Working Well Massage also give to organizations and individuals who are near and dear to our hearts such as Climate Cycle, massage research related organizations and to our clients, business partners and staff! Giving helps us stay healthy as people and as an organization. (Being balanced, selective, and private about our giving allows us to remain in business so we can keep on giving.)
Read a really intriguing article from PBS NEWSHOUR about the alleged stinginess of Americans and the reasons why so many of us having difficulty giving. In the PBS article, Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson state that: “When it comes to generosity with money, time, skills and relationships, we know that relaxing, letting go, and giving away is not often automatic or easy. This is especially true in American culture, which from all sides constantly pounds home messages of scarcity, discontent, insecurity and acquisition. These messages may serve to grow the consumer economy, but they are often not good for the consumers.”