The Surprising Psychological Benefits of Gift Giving

What is the purpose of a gift? Why are we offering gifts in the first place? Sadly, nowadays, in our chaotic life filled with endless to-do lists and lack of time, gifts are becoming just something to tick off a list, a box of something nicely wrapped that we paid a “reasonable” amount of money for.

A gift can show a person that you care, can be an act of friendship and it can sure make someone happy. In other contexts, when finding a gift for someone you just met, it can be a chance to show that you paid attention, that you know how to pick something nice and that you know how to be graceful.

Ok, so sometimes a gift is just a formality, but why not take that opportunity to bring a smile on someone’s face?

Dr. John Dewey, American philosopher, said that the deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important”. A gift makes someone feel important by itself, but a well-chosen gift, a gift that considers the personality and desires of the gift recipient will surely make him feel important and cared for.

The counterintuitive part is that once you manage to make someone else happy, there’s a warm fuzzy feeling in you heart that quickly transforms into sheer happiness. It makes you feel good and proud of yourself. In fact, studies find that there are health benefits associated with giving. Giving can activate regions of the brain associated with pleasure, connection and trust.

Another benefit of great gift-giving is the sense of being appreciated and admired. This is an indirect perk of coming up with an excellent gift idea. You will immediately stand out if your gift is something original that truly resonates with the recipient. Everybody has a long list of not-so-great gifts (to say the least) forgotten in the dark corners of the closet and they can appreciate an ingenious and thoughtful gift. Therefore, offering such a gift to someone will actually make you feel proud of yourself.

A thank you gift offered to someone that helped us is an excellent vehicle for expressing of our feelings of gratitude. A thank you gift offers closure and makes us feel good as well.

The thought process and brainstorming that comes with gift giving helps us be more empathetic and more attuned to the feelings of others. Thinking about someone else’s likes and dislikes is the shortest pathway to understanding others. Great gift giving is all about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, getting inside their head and seeing things from their perspective.

An indirect benefit of thoughtful gifts is that it helps build social skills and relationships with other people. On one hand you get to know and understand the recipient better by the thought process and research that goes into finding the perfect gift and on the other the recipient will instantly feel closer to you by being understood and by receiving something that he or she actually likes and appreciates. Being able to relate to people is quite a valuable skill that can change our life for the better.

Ultimately, the most important thing is simply caring, actually asking yourself the question “What would he or she really enjoy receiving?” and then experience the joy of gift-giving.

Learn actual steps to instantly up your gift giving game and reset your mindset related to gifts. Get my Checklist with 7 Steps for Finding Great Gifts and 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid here.

Find out more about how to become an amazing gift giver by having the right mindset and following a few easy steps in my book: “Find That Perfect Gift!” available on Amazon.

Author of “Find That Perfect Gift!”

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