Giving: A Way To Treat Your Anxiety

When we give to others, more so than receive, we are happier and more fulfilled, which can help treat anxiety and depression. A recent study, using toddlers as subjects, indicates that even very young people feel happier when giving to others than when receiving something for themselves. Plus, the toddlers seemed very happy when they sacrificed their own resources to give.

The study results support the idea that human beings are hard-wired for pro-social and sharing behaviors. It’s comforting to know that despite everything we see on a newscast we have evolved (or have been created) to be generous with one another. Furthermore, it seems our wiring may give us the warmest and fuzziest glow when our giving costs us something.

These good, “pro-social” feelings do more than reinforce our acts of kindness. Sharing is linked to constructive thinking, success, and long life as well.

Steps In the Study

  • A warm-up exercise was done with the children showing that the puppets involved liked getting treats.
  • Children were introduced to a monkey puppet, encouraged to touch it, and told the monkey liked treats.
  • The experimenter said, “Both you and Monkey have no treats right now,” drawing attention to the lack of treats.
  • The experimenter then discovered eight treats, said they were for the child, and put all of them in the toddler’s bowl.
  • The experimenter discovered another treat and gave it to the puppet.
  • The experimenter finds another treat and asks the child to give it to the puppet.
  • The experimenter asks the child to give the puppet a treat from the child’s bowl of treats.
  • The study found that the toddlers did not have an aversion to sharing treats out of their own stash. The toddler’s happy reaction was also unrelated to the different levels of treat-enthusiasm expressed by the puppet.

So, now there is one more notch in the research belt indicating humans are wired to share and cooperate; something many of us intuits to be true without research results.

“While other studies have suggested adults are happier giving to others than to themselves and that kids are motivated to help others spontaneously,” Delia Fuhrmann, a Greater Good research assistant, wrote, “this is the first study to suggest that altruism is intrinsically rewarding even to very young kids and that it makes them happier to give than to receive.”

Although we are all wired a bit differently at birth and grow up in families with a variety of values and quality of role models, it makes sense that we take heart over being naturally rewarded to share and live accordingly. Even if we feel anxious or depressed, our body responds positively to small acts of cooperation and generosity.

Source: Giving Leads to Happiness in Young Children and Hard Wired to Be Kind
Photo: Pexels

Anxiety Support Groups

More Articles

The number one biggest fear of human beings is Glossophobia, also known as having a fear of public speaking. Some even fear public speaking more...

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a mix of mindfulness meditation and simple yoga poses. It has been proven to help people reduce...

Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for healthy growth and development. There is significant...

Getting around town during peak traffic hours can bring stress to even the most relaxed of us, but what if just getting in your car is enough to...

Librium, known generically as chlordiazepoxide, is a benzodiazepine used to relieve anxiety and to control the agitation that is a side effect of...

More Articles

Stressful life events are difficult for everyone, but they can be especially hard on those who already have an anxiety disorder. A recent study...

If you're contemplating starting medication for an anxiety disorder, you no doubt have discovered that there are literally dozens of prescription...

Getting around town during peak traffic hours can bring stress to even the most relaxed of us, but what if just getting in your car is enough to...

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has received a fair amount of media and research attention lately, with the return of soldiers fighting in...

If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you may occasionally experience an anxiety attack.

An anxiety attack is described as a sudden...

The antidepressant doxepin (originally marketed by Pfizer under the brand name Sinequan) is a tricyclic antidepressant approved to treat anxiety...

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is a mental disorder in which anxious thoughts repeatedly drive them to compulsive behavior. With Obsessive...

According to the DSM-IV, people suffering from a medical condition should only be diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder (SAD) if the anxiety is...

We are aware of which foods to avoid when struggling with generalized anxiety disorder, but knowing which items can actually help reduce your...

A new study has successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of a novel treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Using drugs that don't...

The antidepressant Effexor, a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), was first introduced in 1993 and is approved for the treatment...

A report in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity concludes that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce inflammation and reduce anxiety. The study...

According to new research by investigators from Michigan State University, people who are chronic or habitual worriers are at a higher risk for...

There are many drugs that are prescribed "off-label" to treat anxiety and other mental health conditions, but what does off-label use actually...

Having an anxiety disorder can seriously debilitate your quality of life. If you’re suffering from anxiety, you know that it can affect your...