The new year tends to bring about commitments to do more and to do better. Whether it’s a new fitness routine or eating out less – New Year’s resolutions can be good for our mind, body, and soul. They not only produce physical results but more importantly, they offer hope for the future. We have hope that with some intention and effort, the change we expect will be realized.
Another source of hope in the new year can come from extending the focus past ourselves. Generosity, or sharing our gifts with others, just makes us feel good. When we are generous with our time, our talents, and even our treasure – we feel pride and a sense of purpose in our ability to do something good for someone else.
Being generous can mentally and physically benefit you in the new year. According to the Cleveland Clinic, giving back activates the reward centers in our brain and releases the chemicals that give us feelings of happiness and love, which can help lower depression. Our physical well-being can also be impacted, as this chemical response in the brain reduces stress and lowers your blood pressure.
As you think about your intentions for 2023, here are some examples of how generosity can make you more hopeful in the new year:
• Connect with a friend:
Generosity can be as simple as checking in with someone who may be struggling, or who you simply have not connected with in a while. Hearing from you may be an opportunity to talk out a problem or serve as a bright spot in their day. Giving our time to one different person each month can create a wonderful sense of purpose.
• Lend a hand:
By offering a helping hand, such as shoveling a driveway or helping with an assignment at work, that little bit of assistance to a friend, family, coworker, or neighbor, can provide a big relief, and an even bigger feeling of pride.
While this may seem obvious, for many, volunteering can seem daunting or like we don’t know where to start. Consider how much time you have available, what you are good at, and who or what you’re passionate about. This will help you narrow your intentions to a specific organization and task.
• Donate the tangible stuff:
Extra clothes, used toys and books, even donating blood are all tangible things that produce real value to those who receive them.
• Make a financial contribution:
Of course, many of the causes and organizations that give us hope for the future are only able to do their work with financial support. Consider setting up an automatic recurring donation or opening a new donor advised fund. Your philanthropic goals can be realized without you even noticing!
Generosity is a value we hold dear at Lincoln Community Foundation, and quite simply the root of our existence. We get the opportunity to help make good happen in our community, and each instance of good is an opportunity to inspire others to do the same. This new blog is one example of the ways in which we plan to inspire generosity through the act of storytelling in the new year. Stay tuned!