“Ding dong ding.” Who could be ringing the doorbell? The Season for Celebration, that’s who! While it seems like we just put away our rakes and gardening – the quiet winter is edging out the fall. Thoughts turn to filling bird feeders and perusing next year’s seed catalogues. Chubby has some suggestions for delivering holiday happiness through compassionate giving. It’s just a great thing to do!
Berkeley University highlights the reason why giving feels so good, “scientists have started to map the biological basis of compassion, suggesting its deep evolutionary purpose… when we feel compassion, our heart rate slows down, we secrete the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, and regions of the brain linked to empathy, caregiving, and feelings of pleasure light up,” when we care for others.
Do good = feel good … literally
The University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) warns that curbing compassion is a bad idea. Study participants that deliberately ignored feelings of empathy also began vindicating and adopting unethical thinking practices and callous behavior. The researchers found that “when individuals regulate their compassion, they sense an inner conflict between valuing morality and abiding by their moral rules, and they feel that they must make a substantial trade-off between the two… people alleviate this conflict by either placing less importance on morality or relaxing their adherence to moral principles.” The study cautions that if we act against empathy when suppressing feelings of compassion, we begin to build a negative and selfish lifestyle.
So, let’s get feeling great! Here are a few more benefits:
• Giving and caring activate the reward sections of the brain (of course you knew that already). When we exercise the pleasure seeking areas of the brain – we become happier. Time to get your brain “happy” fit! Sharing is strength training for the brain. People who spend their time helping others become more positive because they reject negative thinking. They focus less on their own problems … making them much more content and less prone to defeatist worry.
• Brains that are working hard to help others, help their owners, too! When we regularly engage in caring and empathy, we end up with a fighting trim immune system. Stress hormones are knocked down and disease kicking features are “pumped” up.
• Compassion develops our abilities to reason, be less reactive and prone to frustration behaviors. Chubby knows that being nice is nice! People who help others are kinder and more pleasant, more ambitious, feel energetic and optimistic, are healthier (optimism boosts vigor) and rarely feel lonely. Research shows that we become better friends, parents or neighbors…and children raised in a caring home learn coping skills as they build a strong platform for empathy! Optimism, self-control, strength of mind and self-satisfaction are some extra advantages gleaned from a compassion-based lifestyle.
• Chubby Bonus: Read these extras from the University of Berkeley: “Feeling compassion for one person makes us less vindictive toward others… More compassionate societies—those that take care of their most vulnerable members, assist other nations in need, and have children who perform more acts of kindness—are the happier ones.
Connections in Compassion
Ready to build a happier and healthier lifestyle? Try cultivating “compassion connections” in your community!
• Want to do something special for homeless animals? Many shelters have toy and pet needs drives. Find a list of their “must-haves” on the shelter website or give the facility a call. Most dog and cat shelters need blankets, litter, toys, treats and food. Other rescues cater to a wider variety of species including reptiles and livestock! Their holiday gift basket can include some Chubby Mealworms, grain, hay or other unique items.
• Provide winter feeding stations for the visiting birds. Set out seeds and suet cakes. Try tossing in some Chubby Mealworms, nuts and shelled sunflower seeds for a special “thank you” gift. Wild birds help us all year long by eating nuisance insects and serenading us with beautiful songs! Now it is our turn to share some joy with these feathered beauties.
Extra: Set up a ready-made bird feeder for a friend or an elderly neighbor! Have the feeder filled for instant hanging from a favorite branch or pole.
• Don’t forget your friends and family that have herps, reptiles, fish and backyard poultry. Buy a gift that helps them care for their pets. Visit a pet store for pet food, litter or other must-haves. Ask the staff if you are not sure what to buy. Herps, reptiles, chickens and other fowl go crazy for mealworms. Providing a beautiful holiday Chubby Mealworm gift will be sure to delight!
• Visit a local senior center and ask if they know of any members that live alone or could use some assistance with house tasks or yard work. Doing an action for another person means much more than bringing a gift. In fact, the gift of your time is pretty special! Homebound seniors love to chat and enjoy a visit. If you have a special furry or feathered family member, ask if they would like to have your pet come for a special visit!
• We are all familiar with food drives and clothing collections. Food banks and poverty assistance programs often struggle to keep up with demand. Many businesses and local charities have the info and a guide to help you get started. Visit dosomething.org to find a group near you! Dosomething.org connects individuals with respective causes. Over 5 million members in 131 countries are making a difference. Choose your cause, your area – and begin to make a difference! Here are just a few of the campaigns:
“Smiles for Soldiers” sends greetings to military personnel overseas. Over 148,000 cards have been sent …bringing “smiles” to servicemen and women.
“Get the Filter Out” cleared 3.7 million cigarette butts from the environment.
“Teens for Jeans” delivered denim to homeless youth.
Visit Clean Up the World’s website to find a local chapter. 130 million volunteers in 130 countries are banding together under the largest grass-roots environmental awareness community. Businesses, schools and excited locals develop initiatives to address global environmental concerns, empowering individuals to make a difference. Create your own “clean-up” by uncovering a problem in your neighborhood, “from clean ups and tree planting activities to recycling, water management and energy conservation projects,” each area has room for a fix.
Compassion in action
Share your good deeds with the Chubby Community! Are you feeding the birds, helping homeless people and animals, caring for a neighbor or adopting a new family member? Let us know…