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May 06, 2019

You know the feeling -- the one you get when someone opens a gift you’ve so carefully made, or when you do a thoughtful, unexpected deed, and it’s received with overwhelming gratitude.

The involuntary smile, the tingle in your toes, and the warmth you feel in your chest -- that’sgiving. And we’re all about it here at XACTLY. In fact, we live to give, and studies have shown that making giving a part of your daily or weekly routine can actually enhance -- and even extend -- your life.

That’s right! Give and live (longer). Science says so!

According to aUK based study on altruism, giving to others in a variety of ways (both big and small) yields health and physical benefits. Not only does helping others do good, it feels good! Studies have shown that giving to others in any capacity creates positive feelings and affirmations within ourselves as givers. Giving to others also reinforces human connection, reducing isolation and strengthening one’s sense of community.

As links have been made between giving to others and attending to our own self care, there are reasons to believe that giving can actually increase our own life expectancy. As we age, research shows that seniors who give support to other community members live longer than those who don’t -- and likely take better care of themselves, as well.

So we know giving has multiple positive benefits, but where do we start?

Start small

You’re inspired to do good, and you can’t wait to hit the streets with generosity and overwhelming compassion.Great --but not so fast! Start small and go from there. You don’t have to be the founder of a 501(c)(3) to make an impact (although thatwouldbe awesome). Maybe you help and elderly neighbor with their groceries or bake cookies for your coworkers, just because. In fact, starting with small, meaningful deeds will encourage your generosity without uprooting your daily or breaking the bank. Work up to starting that 510(c)(3), but know that it’s not the only way to impact others. While grander deeds can feel more poetic, the smallest deeds can undoubtedly make a difference in someone’s life.

Share something you love

Coffee connoisseur? Buy a cup of java for the person behind you in line or offer to make a coffee run for a coworker -- free of charge -- as you dash to your favorite roastery for a cup yourself. Obsessed with soccer? Sign up as a volunteer referee for a kids’ league, or find a summer camp to volunteer as a coach, mentor, or helper. Sharing your passions with others allows you to give in a way that doesn’t always feel like you’re giving. And who knows, you might spark a new passion in someone else, too!

Write it down

Start a Deed Journal. Every time you do a good dead, write it down; keep track of what you did, for whom, and how it made you feel. Logging your giving and the experiences around each deed will create a tangible reminder of the positive benefits of giving, and it will cultivate your own gratitude around generosity. At the end of every month, take a tally of how many people you’ve positively impacted that month. Odds are, those people have been inspired by your giving, and you will have created a chain reaction of good deeds and gratitude!

Giving is contagious, and it’s a huge piece of what we do -- and why we do what we do -- here at XACTLY. Our giving of choice? Helping to serve the world’s poorest communities by partnering with Planet Water and providing safe, clean water sources for communities around the globe. Want to get involved? Learn more about our work with Planet WaterHERE.