When athletes like LeBron James, J.J. Watt, and Serena Williams open their hearts and their wallets, many people benefit, including the stars themselves.
As LeBron told kids at a new public school he launched in his hometown of Akron, Ohio: “This is my way of saying 'thank you' to you guys, because I know exactly what you guys are going through. This is my gift to you.”
Clearly it's a gift to the kids. But it gives a lot to LeBron, too.
That's because giving and receiving change your mindset and your body, improving your health and happiness.
Receiving a gift offers benefits both physical and emotional. Supportive ties help people recover from cardiac problems, fuel hope, and ease distress.
And the rewards of giving are real as well. The Cleveland Clinic says they include lower blood pressure, increased self-esteem, less depression, greater happiness, and a longer life.
One University of California, Berkeley, study found that when folks 55 and older volunteered for two or more organizations, they were 44% less likely to die over a five-year period than those who didn't volunteer. And it wasn't because they were healthier to begin with.
If that's not incentive enough, according to the UC's Greater Good Science Center, acting generously activates the same reward pathway as sex and food.
So volunteer to serve a holiday meal to those in need, give time and or money to charities you believe in, and make a pledge to do more for others (and for yourself) in the New Year.