Published on November 24th, 2017 | from CAMH

Got the Black Friday blues? Get a boost on #GivingTuesday

By Dr. Niki Fitzgerald, Psychologist in CAMH’s Work, Stress & Health Program

If your inbox is anything like mine, it’s been inundated with countless emails from retailers alerting you to their ‘can’t miss’ deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. What you’re likely not getting, or at least not as many, are those related to #Giving Tuesday.

Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with it – I was only reminded of it when I was broached to do this blog. Started by the United Nations Foundation and 92nd Street Y in 2012, it was created to kick off the ‘charitable/giving season’ to encourage donations of time or money. Now celebrating its 5th year, #GivingTuesday has truly become a global movement, with 98 countries participating last year.

The benefits of giving, whether it’s time or money or even a blood donation, go beyond the recipient. The benefits extend to the giver too.

Research suggests that giving to others is associated with higher rates of happiness, regardless of the giver’s income level. Buying the exact same items for someone else, even someone you will likely never meet, resulted in greater levels of positive affect, whether the person giving was in Canada or South Africa. Giving doesn’t have to be financial either. It can involve volunteering on a regular basis or even for a single time. Research has also suggested that volunteering is associated with feelings of psychological wellbeing.

While these opportunities to give may not be flooding your inbox, they certainly abound.

At CAMH, we celebrated the launch of our annual Gifts of Light campaign. This program benefits patients at CAMH by allowing others to donate towards practical, meaningful items – things like socks, PJs and slippers – as well as educational opportunities through patient scholarships and participation in various events and activities.

Planning out your giving can be a bonding experience too. Families can select charities together based on family interests or personal causes, either locally or abroad. These may include the Toronto Humane Society; one of many health-related charities; or an interesting GoFundMe or Kiva project. The same goes for volunteering opportunities: it’s something that can be an individual or group/family activity done on a weekly or monthly basis or even on a single day like the Daily Food Bank Holiday Drive Public Food Sorts that happen later in December.

So as you’re planning your shopping strategy for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, perhaps give some thought to making another list for Giving Tuesday – the psychological boost it’ll give you is just an added bonus to the contribution you’ll make.

Happy Giving!

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