Money can buy you happiness. A lot of happiness, in fact. We have been told the contrary for years but if you agree, you’re just not spending it correctly.
I, like many others, know that some ways of spending money don’t make us happy. Shopping frenzies up and down malls when we are feeling sad or empty; online binges on shoes and handbags we subconsciously know we will never wear; or purchasing toys and gadgets that fill up our lounge rooms but ironically make us feel more empty inside. Spending like this, on ourselves, most certainly does not make us happier (I have a jampacked closet to attest to that fact). However, spending on others does. So switch your paradigm and stop thinking about what you can buy for yourself to make you happier, and instead ask yourself what is it that you can buy for someone else?
The simple art of gift-giving has been around for centuries. Legend has it that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were an extra-thoughtful gift from the King to his terribly homesick wife, Artymis (hello!). Over a millennia later, Tsar Nicholas III gifted opulent Faberge eggs every Easter to his nearest and dearest because he rejoiced in seeing their excitement at receiving one of these ornate creations. And even Cleopatra disguised herself as a gift (she rolled herself up inside a carpet) so that she could sneak in a night with Julius Caesar. Why have people given gifts for so long? Because it’s a mutually rewarding act, where the giver benefits as much as the receiver.
Research shows that gift-giving not only makes the receiver feel happy and cared for, it also yields greater return for the giver too. By giving a gift to someone, attention is deflected from their problems and stresses, and makes them feel as if they are making a positive impact on the life of someone else. This, along with the pro-social impact that this transaction creates between the two people, is a fortuitous by-product of the ancient practice of gift-giving.
There are many different ways of giving a gift. It could be a physical gift, such as the Tsar’s Faberge egg, to cheer someone up and make them feel special. Some gifts are generic – think flowers and chocolates on a birthday or anniversary. Other gifts, such as a care package, are a carefully chosen selection of products hand-picked for someone at a time of need, not just celebration. A carefully curated care package is one of the most thoughtful and impactful gifts a person can give or receive. Caring Canary is Australia’s first bespoke care package retailer, and their online store is full of hard-to-find, premium products aimed at brightening someone’s day. A Caring Canary care package is a convenient and easy way for busy, time-poor people to show someone they care. Sending a care package to someone when they need it most will enable the giver feel like they are making a beneficial difference to someone’s life.
Other ways of giving might be in the form of financial support, such as sponsoring a child or having a money collection tin for a community group. Alternatively, it could be emotional or time-based giving, by volunteering with a group or charity, or offering emotional support to people who are going through hardship. Whatever the type of giving might be, the positive effects are not only felt by the receiver – you literally get what you give!
It is rarely the motivation of the giver to give gifts (physical, emotional, financial) because of the benefit they will gain. However I have coined the term ‘Caring Karma’ because I have seen firsthand the ways that the positive rewards of giving end up being returned to the giver. In exchange for caring about the wellbeing of someone else, the gift-giver feels a sense of joy for making a positive difference in someone’s life. That makes even the most selfless of us feel pretty good about ourselves and want to give gifts more often.
Written by Georgia Harley.
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