The Giving Heart: Unlocking the Transformative Power of Generosity in Your Life

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A bit puzzled, she had gladly wheeled her cart away. I smiled to myself. Reaching out to her had reset my mood, and I felt like I was in love with the whole world. Helping others really is like a "feel good" pill. When I was doing the research for my last book, Health and Happiness Boosters , I realized that making someone else happy creates happiness the fastest. Lending a hand, making someone smile, or being of use to someone other than ourselves helps us stop focusing solely on our own difficulties and gives a larger perspective to our days.

Radical Generosity | Rockpool Publishing

This is what Karl Marx meant when he said, "Experience praises the most happy the one who made the most people happy. There is a wonderful, mystical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life—happiness, freedom, and peace of mind—are always attained by giving them to someone else. During the break-up of a fourteen-year relationship, I was in terrible pain and leaned heavily on the love and advice of my friends, including author Daphne Rose Kingma, who flew up from Santa Barbara to sit with me for a few days.

When she was about to leave, she gave me a tiny piece of paper, her prescription for my healing: 1 Go to therapy; 2 Meditate; 3 Reach out to others in pain. I'm glad to say I did all three items. At the time, though, I didn't see why helping others would help me. I understood the benefits of therapy—working through the grief, coming to see my part in the break-up, and understanding the relationship dynamics I tend to encounter. I saw how meditation might work—tapping into the sense of peacefulness and wholeness beneath the pain of my situation.


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But giving to others? Wasn't this a time to focus on myself? Helping others forced me to notice something other than my own misery, which was a great gift. Rather than wallowing in all the ways I had been mistreated and abused, I could turn my attention to someone else. As months passed, however, I discovered something else. Walking the halls of the welfare hotel where most of my deliveries were, I stopped being so attached to my particular wound and began to see that suffering is part of life. All kinds of terrible things happen to people, often for no reason, and I was not specially singled out for victimization.

While it wasn't true for me in this situation, giving when you are feeling hurt often makes meaning out of your suffering.

The person who's paralyzed by a gunshot wound and then becomes an advocate for gun control, the woman who finally escapes from her abusive husband and works to set up a shelter for battered women—these are individuals who reach up out of the particulars of their individual tragedies to ensure that others will not have to suffer the same fate. You don't have to be suffering from some specific hurt to reap the benefits of giving. Any time we reach out to others—in our hurt or with our love—we feel better. It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

I have a friend who has had a terrible case of lupus for nearly twenty years. She has been hospitalized many times and is constantly on medication that has horrible side effects, including cataracts. She had to quit her job as a graphic designer and now is completely supported by her husband. She can get really down about her life. Recently she decided to become a volunteer at a soup kitchen.

She goes when she feels up to it, and she's started to discover that the more she goes, the better she feels—emotionally and physically. Her arthritis a consequence of lupus isn't as severe and she has more energy. Helping others can not only make us feel good about ourselves; it can also increase our physical well-being. The mind and body aren't separate. Anything we do to elevate our spirits will also have a beneficial effect on our health.

"The Rewards of the Generous" with Jentezen Franklin

A recent study by Cornell University found that volunteering increases a person's energy, sense of mastery over life, and self-esteem. Other studies have demonstrated that such positive feelings can actually strengthen and enhance the immune system. Positive emotions increase the body's number of T-cells, cells in the immune system that help the body resist disease and recover quickly from illness.

Positive emotions also release endorphins into the bloodstream. Endorphins are the body's natural tranquilizers and painkillers; they stimulate dilation of the blood vessels, which leads to a relaxed heart. While we don't quite understand all the reasons why giving creates good health, many studies have documented generosity's positive effects.

Michigan researchers who studied 2, people for almost ten years found that men who regularly did volunteer work had death rates two-and-one half times lower than men who didn't. In a separate study, volunteers who worked directly with those who benefited from their services had a greater immune system boost than those whose volunteer work was restricted to pushing papers.

Harvard researchers also conducted a study that showed how giving is such a powerful immune booster that it can be experienced just by watching someone else in the act of giving!


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In this well-known experiment, students looking at a film of Mother Teresa as she tended the sick in Calcutta—even those who purported to dislike Mother Teresa—got an increase in immune function. In Radical Generosity, M. Ryan provides tools for expressing thanks. In the best-selling Attitudes of Gratitude, she taught us the inner work of realizing the many blessings we take for granted.

Now, in Radical Generosity, she presents her latest examination of the virtues we need to cultivate for the twenty-first century and takes a look at generosity: what creates it, what blocks it, and what the practice of generosity can bring to our lives.

She asks readers to consider where and how they are stingy as well as where they are meant to give, and to contemplate all the types of possible generosity, because ultimately the giving of time, energy, kind words, loving gestures, and forgiveness may matter more than any amount of money. Altogether, there are 1. Currently, M.

Find out more. Now, in Radical Generosity, she presents her latest examination of the virtues we need to cultivate for the twenty-first century and takes a look at generosity: what creates it, what blocks it, and what the practice of generosity can bring to our lives. In a series of short, heart-felt essays, Ryan encourages us all to stop living from what she calls the ledger sheet mentality of obligatory gifting and to begin giving from the overflow of a loving heart.

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She asks readers to consider where and how they are stingy as well as where they are meant to give, and to contemplate all the types of possible generosity, because ultimately the giving of time, energy, kind words, loving gestures, and forgiveness may matter more than any amount of money.

In her down-to-earth, accessible style, Ryan takes us to the heart of what it means to truly give, and what that giving can do not only for the recipient but for ourselves, as well.

Radical Generosity – Unlock the Transformative Power of Giving

As the current economic and political climate brings attention to altruism and giving back, Radical Generosity shows us how to experience joy, peace, and fulfillment when we live from a place of generosity. Replaces ISBN About This Item We aim to show you accurate product information. Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it.

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