PsyBlog, a website dedicated to human psychology, reports the results of a recent research study that looked into the relationship between generosity and happiness.

The research team use MRI brain scans to monitor activity in the ventral striatum, an area of the brain that is important in the feeling of happiness.

People were asked about their happiness levels before and after the experiment.  Those who had been more generous during the experiment were happier. It turns out that even the smallest amount of generosity enhances feelings of happiness in the giving person. In fact, people just making a promise to be more generous was enough to trigger activity in the brain that increased their feelings of happiness. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Dr Philippe Tobler, one of the study’s authors, wrote:
“It is remarkable that intent alone generates a neural change before the action is actually implemented. You don’t need to become a self-sacrificing martyr to feel happier. Just being a little more generous will suffice.”

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