Giving Tuesday & Science
Today is #GivingTuesday, an innovative day that promotes the culture of philanthropy through modern technology. It is brought to us by Canada Helps, an invaluable not-for-profit that provides an affordable fundraising platform and training program for Canadian charities. Without Canada Helps, many charities would be without funding, and many donors would not be connected to the charitable work that gives them a sense of fulfillment. We at the Centre for Mindfulness Studies would like to take the time to appreciate Canada Helps for all their hard work.
Gratitude and Science- Are humans hard-wired to help?
While #GivingTuesday is a modern approach to giving, the act of charity is as old a human society. While the common belief that giving is good for an individual and an important part of a healthy society, in recent years science has been able to empirically prove this. The evidence is mounting that altruism may have directly impacted the evolution of the human brain, and is the key to human longevity and happiness.
New genetic data is showing that empathy prolongs life, as social support systems reduce cellular aging later on in life. There is a hormone directly linked to forming relationships and empathy- Oxytocin. Dr. Paul Zak, leading expert in Oxytocin and kindness, suggests that a person can naturally boost their levels of Oxytocin through acts of touch, kindness, and generosity.
In a WebMD article, leading world expert in preventative medicine Stephen G. Post, PhD, states: “Humans have evolved to be caring and helpful to those around us, largely to ensure our survival. In Darwin’s Descent of Man, he mentions survival of the fittest only twice. He mentions benevolence 99 times… Ultimately, the process of cultivating a positive emotional state through pro-social behaviours [being generous] may lengthen your life.”
I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough, we must do. — Leonardo da Vinci
A simple way to practice generosity today is to donate to our GivingTuesday page.
Another way to give back through the Centre for Mindfulness Studies is to register for one of our mindfulness courses. Through the revenue generated by our course offerings, we provide bursaries to our courses and free programming to marginalized members of our community. The more you learn and develop yourself through mindfulness at our centre, the more you help underprivileged individuals access the same help.
Caroll, J. (2013, January 31). Result Filters. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23370895 Feature, J. (n.d.). The Science of Good Deeds. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/science-good-deeds Oaklander, M. (n.d.). How To Be A Better Lover. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from http://www.prevention.com/sex/sex-relationships/easy-ways-increase-oxytocin-levels?s=2 Zak, P. (2009, November 29). The Science of Generosity. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-moral-molecule/200911/the-science-generosity