Human beings have a powerful altruistic instinct. We like to
do things for other people, a character trait that has often been on display
during the Covid crisis. This instinct was also notable as the crisis in
Ukraine mounted. People want to feel part of something and connected to the
world around them. When we Give, we feel closer to others, just as they feel
closer to us. It is important for our sense of wellbeing.
Giving takes us out of ourselves for a while. It connects us
to others and to greater causes. Seeing yourself, and your wellbeing and
happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and will
create connections with the people around you, connections that have a powerful
influence on wellbeing, yours and the people you’re giving to.
Cardiff University understands this: its civic mission is to
put its communities at the heart of everything it does. With a specific focus
on future generations, the University has long appreciated the benefits of
helping others, including its support of the Cardiff Half Marathon. It is determined
to be a force for good in rescuing, reviving and renewing the hopes of the
You can play a part too.
Practicing Give, one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing, as part
of your self-care toolkit, can generate feelings of happiness and life
satisfaction and even a greater sense of purpose. It helps create positive
feelings and a sense of reward. Evidence from neuroscience suggests that the
‘reward’ area of our brain is activated when we give, meaning we intrinsically
experience good feelings in the process. Research into actions for promoting happiness
has shown that committing an act of kindness – a Give activity – once a week
over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.
Giving is also contagious. People who are given to are more
likely to ‘pay it forward’ and give to others. There is a ripple affect on
Giving can also present a ‘big picture’ perspective, helping
us think about others and see our concerns for what they are.
And there are all kinds of ways to Give. Materials things
like money and food donations, or immaterial offerings like your time, skill,
and knowledge. Give can be small acts of kindness, or larger ones like
volunteering with organisations and in your community.
There are lots of ways in which you can Give. Here are just
a few examples:
Commit a small act of kindness
Say thank you for something someone has done for
Ask friends, family or colleagues how they are
and actively listen to their reply
Spend time with people who need support or
Offer to help someone with a task, some DIY, a
work project or other
Volunteer in your community; in a school,
hospital, care home, sports team, group or social initiative
Donate unwanted goods
Express gratitude for the good things in your