Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Emotional Giving Beats Emotional Eating

I just read something that really resonated with me.  Apparently, doing good deeds and acts of altruism activates the same reward sensors in the brain that respond to eating favorite foods.  Not only is this a great idea, but I think it's true. I know it's true for me. I always feel better when I eat!  Seriously, I can see how doing something simply for the sake of making someone's life better would trigger feelings of happiness and contentment.  

I think we should all work this idea into our pre-holiday resolutions. Instead of eating to feel better, try doing something for someone else. It's not too late to donate toys to Toys for Tots. Find a "secret santa" or "angel" tree in your community and donate gifts for children/seniors. Call a nursing home or assisted living facility and ask if there's anything they need for the residents to make the holidays more cheerful. Call a children's hospital/in-patient unit and ask if they need anything for the holidays. Bring treats to your favorite staffers at the library, the doctor's office, the dentist. Double your dinner or cookie recipe and share half with a neighbor or coworker who is stressed for time. Pay the toll for the car behind you. Give someone a subway token. Pay for someone's coffee at the coffee shop. Pack a note or tiny gift in someone's briefcase or lunch bag. Pay extra for your Christmas tree at the charity tree sale. Donate baked goods to a bake sale. Fill a grocery cart with food to take to a food pantry. Donate pet food to a local animal shelter. Just do something.

Giving doesn't have to cost money. There are lots of ways to give without spending. Compliments are free and are usually well-received. Write a letter of appreciation to someone's boss. Write or email letters to friends you have been neglecting in the holiday rush. Offer to watch someone's children/elderly parent for a few hours so they can run errands. Shovel the snow off your neighbor's walk. Carry your neighbor's empty trash cans or recycle bins back up their driveway. Help someone hang their Christmas lights. Become a volunteer in your community.

Do not stop giving when the holidays are over. Giving instead of eating might turn out to be the most globally beneficial diet plan ever invented. Imagine finding your fitness and making the world a better place at the same time! This is the epitome of a win-win situation. 



  1. What I like to do when paying my bills is to put in some smiley stickers.

  2. Hey Medic, Where have you been? I was hoping the new year would bring a renewed interest in posting and blogging. Miss you! Hollins

  3. Hey! I'm getting back in the swing of things... stay tuned!

  4. Looking forward to new posts....I started reading your blog a couple motnhs ago, and miss your posts. You were very motivating to me.