Have you ever heard of “giver’s high?” No, you don’t get it from an illegal substance! Researchers coined the name “giver’s high” to the feeling we get when we donate our time and / or money to a cause we care about.
It’s pretty obvious that the person, organization, animal or cause benefits when they receive our time or financial donations. What’s less obvious but documented is the benefits we receive.
Researchers have discovered that even when we think about making a donation, the mesolimbic pathway in our brain associated with happiness and dopamine production becomes more active.
“Creativity, meaning, resilience, health and even longevity can be enhanced as a surprising byproduct of contributing to the lives of others. This is perennial wisdom, and science now says it is so,” said Stephen Post, PhD., and professor of preventative medicine and bioethics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine.
In addition, one study found that cortisol levels, our “stress” hormone, increases when we don’t give when we feel we should, and correspondingly, study participants’ cortisol levels dropped when they chose to give.
Fortunately, if you want to lower your stress and increase your happiness by donating to a cause, you have a plethora of choices! As divers, many of us support marine conservation causes, either animals such as turtles, sharks, and whales or issues such as sustainable fishing and habitat preservation.
If you’re interested in supporting a marine conservation-related cause, check out http://marinebio.org/oceans/conservation/organizations/species/#9. This site lists by species and by issues, making it super easy to find a cause close to your heart.
However, many of us choose to support causes such as at-risk youth, violence against women, climate change, LGBT equality, disease research, education, and reproductive rights.
If you’re interested in causes beyond marine conservation, check out the list here, https://www.myphilanthropedia.org/top-nonprofits/, where you can find international, national and local causes to support, organized by topic.
If you’re a little strapped for cash but still want to help, you can always take action such as signing an online petition, sending an email or supporting a cause on social media. These actions usually only take a few moments to complete, with the message pre-written for you so you only need to enter your name and a few details or share a post on social media.
This site lists a variety of actions you can take now, ranging from species preservation, climate change, overfishing, ocean pollution, loss of marine biodiversity, habitat destruction to invasive species.
Click here to learn more about nonfinancial ways to help: http://marinebio.org/oceans/conservation/local/
For example, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission lists several events around the state where divers can help reduce the lionfish population. Lionfish are beautiful, but are an invasive species which is destroying native species and habitat in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic along the southeastern part of the U.S.
Learn more here: http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/lionfish/events/
Regardless of the cause or causes you choose to support, the research says donating your time and / or money benefits the cause, but the “icing on the cake” is the benefit you receive! Go get some “giver’s high!”
Need some gear before you head out to spear lionfish? Check out our comprehensive online selection at ScubaToys! Or swing by our shop in Carrollton, TX and we’ll get you hooked up.
Do you support any causes? If so, how does it make you feel when you donate? Let us know in the comments section!
Image attribution t-shirt: https://www.flickr.com/photos/myfwcmedia/