Fairy lights are twinkling up and down my street. Stars shine from windows as twilight falls. A host of light up penguins, reindeer, snowmen and neon Santas flicker into life. The festive season is here. Gifts are exchanged with love and hope that the recipient will be pleased. It is a time to enjoy yourself and express generosity towards others.
The anticipation of unwrapping presents and relishing our new stuff can make us happy at the moment. However, have you noticed how the enjoyment felt can fade even when you are genuinely delighted? This phenomenon is called hedonic adaption, meaning we quickly get used to something, and our pleasure in it tends to decrease over time.
The curious thing is that the happiness we feel does not suffer the same fate when giving to others. That warm inner glow and sense of contentment continue long after and with good reason. Studies show that acts of generosity associated with freely giving can boost your physical and mental health. Not that you have to rush out and buy expensive gifts for everyone. Giving can take various forms, from showing kindness or volunteering time to raising money for a specific charity. There are endless possibilities to be generous that don’t have to cost a fortune.
Best of all, in addition to making others happier, giving enhances your positive feelings. According to the Mental Health Foundation, the benefits include reduced stress and improved mood, self-esteem and greater vitality. It seems that giving feels good because it does us good.
Kindness (noun): the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate; a kind act. – English Oxford Living Dictionaries
With this in mind, I have chosen to give to a charity this Christmas whose work I applaud and admire – Dogs4Rescue.
Dogs have always been an important part of my life since a child. The past two years have been made happier because of the companionship of my Labrador retriever, Bramble. During the darkest times felt with the passing of two close family members, Bramble has raised my spirits with his boundless energy and playful, loving nature. Stroking his fur as he curls up with me on the sofa, I feel trusted, soothed by his presence and safe. I am lucky to enjoy such a bond with Bramble, and he has a loving home. Not all dogs are as fortunate – and that is why, with Bramble’s approval, I am giving to Dogs4Rescue.
Dogs 4 Rescue is a unique, independent dog rescue in a semi-rural part of Manchester. The dogs live together in a kennel free environment run by Emma Billington and the team. The dogs spend their days getting all the exercise, socialisation, stimulation, love and care they need whilst waiting for their forever homes. They are free, happy and sleep in warm beds at night, completely unaware they are homeless dogs. You can support Emma and her team in various ways – from buying gifts from their shop to sponsoring individual dogs or donating to their moon-shot project to build a new Sanctuary & Rehabilitation Retreat.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.