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3 Reasons Giving Back is Good for You

South Africans don’t need to read the World Bank’s report on inequality in Southern Africa to know we live in the most unequal country in the world, ranking first among 164 countries in the Bank's global poverty database. We experience it every day – at every traffic light, along every highway and in so many of the heartbreaking stories we hear, read and see, every day.

The mission to bring basic services to the bulk of our population and afford everyone equal opportunity has been nearly three decades in the making – and there’s a long way to go, yet. We hear all the time that South Africans are resilient and resourceful – traits we’ve been forced to hone – but what we also are, is kind. So many people help financially, beyond their means and others go out of their way to do what they can for others in need.

Giving back doesn’t have to come at a personal cost. One example is MySchool - each time a MySchool card is swiped in a partner’s store, that partner donates a percentage of the customer’s spend to their chosen beneficiary at no cost to the customer. That way, if you’re too busy managing your own life or don’t feel like you’re able to commit financially to supporting a beneficiary – or even because you don’t know where or how to start giving back – you can still make a difference. The benefit? To those thousands of beneficiaries MySchool supports, the difference is huge. To you – there are plenty of boosters to knowing you’re giving back.

We spoke to Pieter Twine, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet General Manager, who shares more reasons why giving back is good for you.

Giving Helps your Brain

Knowing you’ve helped someone results in a chemical response that helps you feel good. When you do something for someone else, your brain releases Serotonin (which regulates your mood), Dopamine (which gives you a sense of pleasure) and Oxytocin (which creates a sense of connection with other people).

Giving helps you feel more engaged and joyful, which is good for your health and happiness. It won’t make loadshedding go away – but it’ll go a long way to improving your mood while the power’s out!

Those chemicals released when you’re part of something bigger also help lower your blood pressure, reduces stress, boosts self-esteem, elevates happiness and can combat feelings of depression.

Giving Fosters Community

In a country where ‘community’ is often a euphemism for an underprivileged area where people have had to forge strong bonds to help everyone get by, we also have the opportunity to foster community in more positive ways.

Life is busy and it’s easy to forget that we coexist in a bigger society, where everyone faces their own challenges. Giving helps remind us that we all need help and it helps us develop a deeper sense of the need to improve the areas we live, work and play in, making them better, safer and more equal.

Giving Boosts Giving

Once you start giving back, you start to see the positive effects of actively helping others. This will encourage you to help out in other areas of your life too – and it can inspire others to start making a difference, too. The act of giving creates a ripple effect, where each wave amplifies the last, hopefully allowing us to achieve peaks that will make more and more positive impact, where it is needed most.

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