Give Thanks By Giving Back
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and everyone at Fostering Christmas wishes you a happy holiday filled with family, food, and fun. The unique thing about Thanksgiving is how it calls us to appreciate what we have. Whereas it’s easy to forget all the positives in our busy day-to-day lives, Thanksgiving encourages us to sit down and reflect on our good fortune. It reminds us of how lucky we are.
Of course, some people have more than others. But virtually all of us have something to be thankful for, whether it’s a roof over our heads, family, good health, or the kindness and support of other people. Too often, we take these things for granted or overlook them while focusing on our problems. But at Thanksgiving, we remember — and we’re better for it.
Science backs it up. Multiple studies about gratitude show that more grateful people are happier, more optimistic, less stressed, and have more communicative relationships. That’s why gratitude has been a buzzworthy topic in the wellness industry for the past few years. Many experts endorse gratitude meditations or gratitude journaling so we can cultivate a thankful disposition and reap the benefits.
But research also demonstrates that being grateful is good for other people. Numerous studies have shown that grateful people are also more altruistic. Better yet, gratitude journaling works and changes the neural reward centers in our brains. The more we practice being grateful, the more we want to help others. Maybe that’s why the fourth quarter is always the most successful for fundraising at nonprofits, and food banks and homeless shelters are flooded with volunteers during the holidays.
No one is entirely sure why gratitude makes us more generous, but several theories exist. When we realize our own good fortune, we naturally want to pay it forward. Reflecting on that turkey on the table and the warm beds we sleep in reminds us that not everyone has them, and they should. And while a fear of not having enough for ourselves can hold us back from giving, being grateful reminds us that we already have so much and can often spare some for other people.
Most people who volunteer also say that they get back far more than they give. Helping other people is its own reward, increases our gratitude, and in turn, makes us happier people. So, there’s no better way to celebrate Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season than by giving what you can.
If you’re looking for a way to give back this holiday season, Fostering Christmas would love your support and appreciate whatever you can contribute. Donate, select a list, or volunteer your time today! The kids we help deserve a Merry Christmas — and you deserve the joy that generosity brings.