No matter the occasion, gift-giving is a continuous ritual for most individuals. A universal way of showing interest, appreciation, and gratitude that strengthens bonds with others.
Experts say the whole act of gift-giving can offer psychological benefits, especially for the giver. According to Dr. Devin A. Byrd (Associate professor and chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences at South University – Savannah), people get an emotional lift when searching for a gift for their friends and loved ones.
Here are the top three reasons why gift-giving can be good for you:
1. You become happier.
They say it’s better to give than to receive because gift-giving is recognized as an act of altruism. By having an unselfish concern for the well-being of others and not expecting anything in return when we give gifts, you are improving your psychological health.
You get an enormous sense of satisfaction when you see the expression on the face of someone you’ve given a gift to. It is a way to express feelings because giving reinforces appreciation and acknowledgement of how much you value each other. Psychologists say gift-giving feels good and makes us happy inside, and it shows on the outside. Call it the gift-giving glow.
2. It reduces guilt.
People can’t be with their friends and loved ones all the time. Sometimes, they live miles away from each other, and while constant messaging and video calls help maintain the connection, it’s hard to find something that demonstrates the love and affection you have for someone more than a thoughtful gift.
Nowadays, it’s so easy to order a gift online and send it to your parents, siblings or significant other in an instant. It can’t replace your presence, but it will alleviate your guilt a little.
By giving to others, your feelings for them are reinforced and it makes you feel relevant part of their lives, no matter the distance.
3. It reinforces bonds.
Psychologists found that giving gifts is a surprisingly complex and important part of human interaction, which helps- define relationships and strengthen bonds with family and friends. It is an acknowledgement that the receiver is in your personal network and that they are important enough to be given a present.
Gift-giving also sends out important social cues -- who is on your gift list tells you who is important in your life, clearly illustrating who is more important than others.
The bottom line is: gift giving is a physical symbol of a personal relationship and an expression of social ties that bring individuals together. Gift-giving plays an important role in revealing how people think about others, what they value and enjoy, and how they build and maintain relationships.
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Why do you give gifts? Share your stories in the comment section below.