3 MIN READ | Positive Psychology

Gifts Are a Mood Booster to Happiness

Jashan Jot Kaur

Cite This
Jashan Jot Kaur, (2020, September 29). Gifts Are a Mood Booster to Happiness. Psychreg on Positive Psychology. https://www.psychreg.org/gifts-happiness/
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Lift up your happiness by giving to others. Remember, as H. Jackson Jr once said: ‘The happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.’ 

Happiness is in strengthening the relationships with family, among friends, or at the workplace. After all, we, as humans, are inherently social creatures. Buying a small gift or buying a round of drinks for your colleagues to say thank you, being generous and giving thanks makes us feel happy within ourselves.

Season and gift-giving are already in full-flight, with huge smiles that we experience when purchasing a gift for a loved one (older or younger), a friend, or a colleague can be a wonderful reminder of the true spirit of Christmas or a New Year’s Eve.

The gift of giving

Mark Twain once said that: ‘Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.’

Studies reveal that gift of giving provides the giver with as much satisfaction as the recipient as it helps experience the feeling of positivity, and thus being generous and valuable. Therefore, buying gifts for others not just excites our own feelings but also buttress the connections with happiness.

Why it makes us feel good

So, why does spending on others make us feel good? Research shows that our brains have an inbuilt reward system that manages the spirits of liveliness one communicates with others. Think of oxytocin: a good happy feeling of satisfaction is rewarded when money is spent to make our friends and family smile.

What to buy?

Experiences, as opposed to material possessions, are more meaningful with gifts leading to developing of connections. An experiential gift elicits much stronger and emotional feeling than the physical gifts when a recipient comes across it. For instance, the fear and awe of an exciting splendid adventure, possessing tickets for a huge concert or ticket to a football match or a membership to a local art gallery, a reservation at a restaurant or enjoying the soothing calmness of a spa or adventurous paragliding or a free-fall from a tower, is full of intense emotions than a material feeling.

Personalising the gifts 

Making the gift personal to the recipient is a mood-boosting happy factor. Want to make the impact of the gift even stronger? Buy a ticket to a concert or a movie for two, book a restaurant for a romantic date or buy a beautiful painting for a person who enjoys painting, or buying a voucher to attend an art course, purchase classes from a local yoga studio for yoga lovers.

With the current public health crisis, travelling and meeting in person are highly discouraged. An experiential gift will have to wait until the pandemic is over to put people’s safety first. In the meantime, material gifts can take the place of experiences. Just because material possessions are not as meaningful, though, does not mean that they are less valuable. 

Material gifts have their advantages too. For one, they can last for a long time, and they can be meaningful as long as the giver puts significant time, effort, and care into choosing the right present for the receipt. As the famous saying goes: It’s the thought that counts. 

If the gift a person gives another expresses their sincerity and well wishes clearly, and the receipt is able to perceive that, nothing can be a more valuable gift

Here’s to Christmas and the gift of giving!


Jashan Jot Kaur is a researcher at  Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

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