Thanks + Giving = Happiness
Did you know that the simple act of expressing thanks can make you a happier person? In my post a few years ago, I talked about practicing gratitude and the health benefits it brings. Turns out, when you add thanks to giving, you have a fantastic meal–and a real recipe for happiness.
What’s in a Word?
Ever wonder about the origin of the word Thanksgiving? I’m a bit of a word nerd, so I looked it up. The word itself dates from the 1530s. But in the specific sense of “public celebration acknowledging divine favors” wasn’t around until about a century later1. However, Thanksgiving Day itself was not recognized until the 1670s.
For many, Thanksgiving is more than a day; it is a time of the year when we often put more thoughtfulness and energy into expressing our gratitude–giving thanks–and giving to others. And why do we do that? If your family was like mine, you went around the holiday dinner table and said what you were thankful for. We were put on the spot and asked to sum up everything we appreciated in the entire year into a single sentence. It made me nervous to get it just right, but it felt good. That’s the magical thing about gratitude, it makes you feel good, and there’s a heck of a lot of science to back that up!
Much the same can be said about giving; it makes you happy! Giving to those less fortunate, giving the perfect birthday gift, giving your time, all these actions trigger chemical releases in the brain that can increase your own joy.
In her article, The Neuroscience of Giving, Eva Ritvo, M.D. states, “While the brain is remarkably complex, the neurochemical drivers of happiness are quite easy to identify. Dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin make up the Happiness Trifecta. Any activity that increases the production of these neurochemicals will cause a boost in mood. It’s really that simple.”
Thanks + Giving = Happiness
So now you take these two things–thanks and giving–and put them together, and you’re in for a real dose of happiness, and probably a really great meal too! I reached out to some of my colleagues and asked them to share what they are giving thanks for this year. Read these and just try not to smile!
- I’m thankful for a beautiful wedding. My daughter got married earlier this month. Everyone’s family was in attendance, and the party was fabulous. –Chris G.
- I am very thankful for my new career with Zuken and for a healthy pregnancy for my daughter and my first grandbaby on the way! Donna
- Thankful for good times with coworker friends at creative teambuilding events! –Chris B.
- I am thankful for all the time I get to spend with my 3 boys. All the football games I can attend to watch my son play, all the times we can talk about sports, and all the family dinners the 4 of us have. I am thankful for the opportunity to work so such a great company like Zuken. The everyday challenges my job presents to me keep the drive alive to produce quality service to our customers. The teamwork and family atmosphere that Zuken creates is another reason why I love my job. –Mark M.
- I am thankful for matching yellow shoes at the wire show in Milwaukee. –Dana
- I have some of the best colleagues and I’m thankful to see the return of events where we are able to work together in person with one another and with our customers. -Amy
- I am grateful for my family, my work family, and the flexibility Zuken offers us to work from home. –Bruce
- I am thankful for all the wonderful people in my life that include family, friends, and colleagues. During these uncertain times across the globe, having the support and friendship of others is so important. Thanksgiving is a very special time when we try to take a breath, look around and are grateful for all that we have in our daily lives. –Bob
- I am thankful for every minute of every day. Every minute spent with family and friends is a true blessing. I am grateful that I have the privilege to work with such amazing people. –Mark G.
Thankful for YOU
More than anything, the Zuken team is grateful for YOU–our customers and our partners. You inspire us to create innovative solutions to help you solve your most challenging design problems. You drive us to perform at the highest levels to better serve and support you. We give thanks to you for trusting us and trusting the value of our partnership–and that makes US happy!
As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I hope you’ll give some thought to how you can give thanks. It will brighten someone’s day and increase your own joy and happiness in the process.