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by Menorah Park Foundation Director Joel Fox
This Is Your Brain On Tzedakah (Charity)
Here is another way Menorah Park can help you maintain your Brain Health:
The act of giving has been biologically proven to activate areas of the brain associated with pleasure. The National Institutes of Health has studied the act of giving time or money and found that it stimulates the brain’s “award center” and generates a feeling known as “helper’s high.”
In her book What Makes a Hero: The Surprising Science of Selflessness, Elizabeth Svoboda writes about neuroscientist Jordan Grafman, who is investigating regions of the brain that give rise to selfless behavior. His MRI scans of many subjects reveal that when people make the decision to donate to what they feel is a worthy cause, parts of the midbrain light up—the same region that provides satisfaction from food and sex.
Dr. Bill Harbaugh, a University of Oregon economist, also did MRI scans while a computer monitor presented subjects with opportunities to donate to charity from funds they received at the beginning of the experiment. His results tallied with Dr. Grafman's, showing pleasurable activation in the midbrain during giving.
Dr. Harbaugh's study indicated that giving to charity is neurologically similar to ingesting an addictive drug or learning you have a winning lottery ticket. People give to charity not only because they think it's a good thing to do, but also because giving makes them feel good
Having had a pleasurable experience, Dr, Harbaugh says we are more apt to give again. We might not only get “hooked” on self-sacrifice, but also gain great satisfaction from the process.
Generosity towards a health-related cause like Menorah Park is distinctive because your gifts are linked to the health, happiness and comfort of others, which further intensifies the feeling of satisfaction, according to the studies.
The Menorah Park Foundation would be happy to be your channel for achieving this sense of wellbeing. We’re always so quick to thank our donors, but maybe we should really be saying “you’re welcome!” Enjoy your giving!
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