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How to Be More Generous

Medically Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on September 09, 2021

Generosity seems to fall to the wayside once the holiday seasons are over. So, how can you be more generous in your daily life?

What Is Generosity?

Generosity is more than a behavior. Being generous is a virtue derived from your actions, beliefs, culture, and more. 

Generosity is characterized by freely giving good things. It is often uninhibited, unrestricted, and liberal. But, there are plenty of ways to be generous.

What you can give. The source of your generosity will depend on your life circumstances. Some of the things you can be generous with are:

  • Money
  • Time
  • Aid
  • Possessions and objects
  • Encouragement
  • Emotional support

Why you should be more generous. Generosity can lead to a surprising number of benefits when practiced regularly. Naturally, helping others will benefit them. However, being generous will help you immediately and in the long term.

  • Sedentary people who volunteer tend to become more physically active, improving their overall physical health.
  • Generous people tend to live longer.
  • Generosity makes people happier, improving their overall mental health.
  • Volunteering and generosity prevent burnout with the amount of work people can do.
  • Generosity improves and strengthens interpersonal relationships.

Can you learn how to be generous? Anyone can be generous. Studies have shown that humans are naturally inclined to be generous. However, some people need extra guidance to bring out that hidden generosity. 

6 Ways to Be More Generous

Being generous is a virtue, but it's also a practiced skill and behavior. Practicing generosity will eventually transform you from someone who does generous things to a generous person.

Engage with generous media. It's no secret that people are heavily influenced by what they read and watch. People tend to mimic the behavior of characters and celebrities they admire.

Notably, the more realistic the media is, the more people empathize with the story. Classic fantasy stories are full of heroism, but it's more challenging to relate to their struggles.

Uplifting shows or documentaries, memoirs, and blog posts that tell stories of generosity and hardships are a few places to start. They'll jolt your empathy muscles and urge you to be generous. Moreover, they display generous behaviors you can emulate.

Practice gratitude. It sounds intuitive, but many people don't practice gratitude as much as they should. Taking time every day to remember what you're grateful for makes it easier to give more freely.

Knowing what you're grateful for can guide how you're generous with others.

You can practice gratitude using the following three steps:

  • Take note of the good stuff in your life.
  • Appreciate and save the good stuff.
  • Express gratitude by writing it down or telling someone.

Expressing gratitude for someone is one way to be generous toward them. In addition, pointing out what they graciously do will encourage them to continue being generous. You create a more generous world by being grateful. 

Write reviews. Local businesses and creators thrive off reviews. Without feedback, they don't have many tangible ways to convey their success. So, if you like a product or service, let them know.

Leaving positive reviews bolsters business, improves self-esteem, and allows other consumers to make educated purchases. A review goes a long way.

Share your skills. Do you have a particular skill, expertise, or passion? Could someone benefit from what you know? Then, share your expertise with them.

If your skills are your job, be wary of being too generous. However, your specialty can be invaluable for someone who needs it. If you don't have money or resources to give, your skills can help.

Support a cause or organization. There are organizations for almost every cause you can imagine, and they could use some generosity. Whether you have time, money, or resources to give, anything will help.

Start by searching close to home. Organizations and causes in your neighborhood will be a tangible way to feel the positive effects of generosity.

‌‌Compliment people. Just like reviews for small businesses, compliments go a long way. They are an easy way to support the people around you and make them feel good.

Think of how it feels when someone compliments you. Complimenting people will often push them to do the same. Whether you know it or not, your compliments will spread joy to people everywhere.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Allen, S. The Science of Generosity, Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, 2018.

Greater Good Magazine: "How to Inspire Your Kids to Be Generous."

No Barriers: "6 Ways To Be More Generous."

TeensHealth: "3 Ways to Practice Gratitude."

University of Notre Dame: "What is Generosity?"

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