Monthly Archives: February 2021

Giving Makes You Happier

It’s better to give than receive is one of those platitudes that makes us roll our eyes. The main reason is that we don’t know if it’s actually true or why our lives are enriched by the act of giving. People say it, and we nod along because we don’t want to seem like a jerk if we disagree. 

It turns out that there is data supporting this cliche. It is better to give than to receive because it makes us happier. The proof is in the science, and there are studies with findings that will intrigue you. 

Let’s take a look.

Spend it on Someone Else

Back in 2018, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business put gift-giving to the test by conducting an experiment that asked: How would their own college students spend money that was handed to them, and how would this affect their levels of happiness? 96 students were randomly assigned to spend $5 every day for five days on themselves or someone else. 

Given the title of this blog post, it won’t surprise you that those who left tips or made online donations with the money reported feeling happier than those who took the money and ran. 

Not to be outdone by its regional rival, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management saw U of C’s 96 participants and raised them 406. In this experiment, the university worked with 502 individuals and had them play ten rounds of an online puzzle game, in which they earned 5 cents per round. Just like the other experiment, the subjects had the option of keeping their money or donating it. 

Here again, those who gave said they felt happier compared to those who didn’t. 

Giving Also Can Make You Healthier 

We don’t know how long those study participants sustained their levels of happiness, but there’s evidence suggesting that ongoing giving is good for your health. Who knew? 

This guy does. Philippe Tobler, author of the Swiss Study, A Neutral Link Between Generosity and Happiness, reports that people who give have better health. “Moreover, there is a positive association between helping others and life expectancy,” he says, “perhaps because helping others reduces stress.”

Does Receiving Make You Happy?

It does, but apparently any “new” happiness is short-lived and you return to baseline. In psychology this is referred to as The Hedonic Treadmill, when people return to a stable state of happiness following positive or negative events. 

For example, if you receive a gift basket from a well-reputed specialty retailer in Northbrook, you’ll certainly feel a lift. However, once the contents are consumed, you’ll likely revert back to your initial happiness state. You can always feel more elevated by paying it forward and surprising someone with the same or similar item. 

By the way, there’s nothing wrong with accepting and savoring gifts. Knowing that there’s a reward on the horizon gives you something to look forward to, and receiving an unexpected gift feels great. But you can’t argue with the strong connection between giving and happiness. 

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn

4 Benefits of Dark Chocolate

By now, you may be familiar with the term “superfood” and the most popular kinds:

  • Salmon
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Eggs Greek Yogurt
  • Beans
  • Walnuts
  • Oatmeal
  • Olive Oil
  • Tea
  • Quinoa 

We left one out: dark chocolate.

What now? Chocolate? Superfood? 

You read that correctly. Dark chocolate is on that list because it’s packed with nutrients and minerals that can make you healthier. Before we delve into that, it’s important to note the difference between dark and milk chocolate. 

While both derive from the cacao plant, milk chocolate is made with butter, sugar, and milk and contains small quantities of cacao, the healthy stuff. Dark chocolate is the opposite with less of the filler and more of the cacao. 

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of dark chocolate. 

1. Rich in Minerals & Antioxidants

Dark chocolate is chock full of nutritious minerals like fiber, iron magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. This may sound like a game of Periodic Table roulette, but this is the makeup of dark chocolate. The greater the cocoa percentage, the higher the concentration of these minerals. 

Dark chocolate is also composed of antioxidants–those compounds you hear and read in ads that are never explained–which discourage oxidation, a chemical reaction that produces free radicals that like to attack your cells. 

Compared to most foods, dark chocolate has an abundance of antioxidants. 

2. Anti-inflammatory Properties 

It seems that the bane of our healthy existence is inflammation. It makes the body vulnerable to many illnesses because it damages cells and tissues that protect us. Dark chocolate has strong anti-inflammatory properties that fortify our immune systems. 

In fact, the results of two recent studies concluded that people who consumed dark chocolate with up to 84% cacao, experienced a boost in their immune systems, and those with type 2 diabetes saw significant reductions in inflammatory biomarkers. 

Compared to other superfoods, dark chocolate has an 
abundance of antioxidants

3. Good for Cholesterol 

High cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease. There’s good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). Dark chocolate is known to raise HDL and lower LDL levels because of its antioxidants. Remember those pesky free radicals? The antioxidants of dark chocolate helps cut them down.  

4. Lowers Blood Pressure

Eating dark chocolate may lower your blood pressure to a healthier level. High blood pressure or hypertension can be damaging to your heart, and dark chocolate decreases it while improving blood flow. In yet another study, people who ate moderate amounts of dark chocolate experienced enhanced vascular system function. 

It turns out that you can have your chocolate and eat it, too. Now, as with all foods, there are recommended serving portions to maximize the health benefits and to ensure you’re not defeating the purpose by consuming too many calories. Enjoy in moderation and bon dark chocolate-étit!

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn