It Pays to Be Nice: How Spirituality and Generosity Improve Your Well-Being
The spirituality that causes someone to be generous may also help them heal.
Are you seeking “Lower blood pressure, lower risk of dementia, less anxiety and depression, reduced cardiovascular risk, and overall greater happiness”?
Well there just might be “a magic pill for happiness and longevity” that can help you get such benefits, according to Terri Yablonsky Stat, in the Chicago Tribune – “It’s a simple way to stay healthier”.
It is being generous.
It seems that generosity, no matter the age of the benefactor, benefits the giver physically and psychologically. In other words, it pays to be nice.
However, a hand isn’t moved to give unless a mind is moving it. So, what triggers the mind to give?
Is it wealth? Yes, it does help to possess something to be generous with. But material wealth, by itself, doesn’t always lead to generosity.
But how about spiritual wealth? I believe that there is a spiritual sense within each of us that actually compels us to give. It provides the human mind with the fearlessness, compassion, strength, and expectancy of good that lead to generosity.
What is the spiritual sense that does that? It could be thought of as our innate sense of the divine naturalness of goodness, nurtured by our capacity to understand God and the tender way that He cares for us.
But if spirituality triggers giving, is it in fact the spirituality behind our giving that is benefiting the giver physically?
In her recent New York Times Best Seller, Dr. Lisa Miller wrote, “Research in medicine and psychology has found that people with a developed spirituality get sick less, are happier, and feel more connected and less isolated. In the context of illness, people with a developed spirituality show positive effects for resilience, healing, and recovery.”
Indeed, writing of developmental depression and spiritual awakening, Miller also pointed to MRI studies showing positive results for those people in “families at risk for depression” who had sustained a sense of spirituality or religion as highly important to them for at least five years.” They possessed healthier states than those who hadn’t.
So, yes, the spirituality that causes us to be “a cheerful giver” (as the Bible puts it) does itself lead us to experience bodily improvements. But couldn’t these improvements through spiritual means also hint at some deeper conclusions?
- Health is primarily Spirit-based
- We are subject to divine powers
- Physical betterment is actually God’s ceaseless care finding expression in a way we can understand
These are three points I have come to lean on as the very basis of my own Christian Science healing practice over many years, in which I have regularly seen how a deepened spirituality can restore well-being.
Like many people, I have utilized Bible studies to help cultivate the needed spiritual sense which can bring about such healing, including the following passage that relates giving and spirituality: “Now [God] who provides seed for sowing and bread for food will provide the seed for you to sow; he will multiply it and swell the harvest of your benevolence, and you will always be rich enough to be generous.” (II Cor. 9:10 New English Bible)
What a guarantee for each of us! As God’s creations – reflecting the divine nature – we are always rich enough with joy to be generous, rich enough with love to distribute, rich enough in spirit to brighten every encounter, rich enough with holiness to uplift the experiences of those around us.
You are always rich enough to be generous, and to do so tirelessly.
“Goodness and benevolence never tire. They maintain themselves and others and never stop from exhaustion. He who is afraid of being too generous has lost the power of being magnanimous. The best man or woman is the most unselfed.”
When rich in spirit, you will always be rich enough to be generous. And as you give, you will be blessed.