Three Selfish Reasons to Be Generous

bird on saguaro cactus - selfish reasons to be generous

“Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away.”

– Jean-Paul Sartre

We all have days (or weeks, or months) when life is hectic enough just focusing on keeping ourselves together. During those times, when we might need a bit of extra motivation to act more altruistically, consider these three selfish reasons to be generous.

1. Generous people are happier.

In a recent study, researchers at the University of Zurich found that people who behaved generously were happier afterwards than those who behaved more selfishly.

Also note: being just a little generous increased happiness. “You don’t need to become a self-sacrificing martyr to feel happier,” according to researcher Philippe Tobler. “Just being a little more generous will suffice.”

2. Generous people are healthier.

Studies show that donating money and volunteering time can make us healthier. Being generous offers numerous health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, improving mental health, and reducing the risk of dementia.

3. Decluttering your home is easier.

If you know your unwanted stuff will make someone else happier, it’s a lot easier to let it go. Share your unwanted items with family, friends and neighbors. If you have items they don’t want, try Freecycle or post notices at your local college. Many students would be thrilled to have your old coffee table or extra toaster.

I’ve listed only three selfish reasons to be generous. What benefits of generosity have you experienced?

I'd love for you to share your ideas and experiences.