‘Tis the season for joy, compassion, generosity, and…


As the end of the year approaches, you are likely busy celebrating the holidays with loved ones and doing a mental recap of the entire year. From this yearly round-up, you’re probably deciding on what you’d like to do differently for the upcoming new year. For many, the goal of less stress and anxiety tops the list.

Now is the perfect time to start soothing your anxious mind. In fact, the holiday theme of generosity can actually catapult you into a new and efficient way to cope with anxiety.

Here’s how.

The Gain of Generosity Is Internal

The idea of generosity is usually associated with a monetary value. But it certainly goes far beyond cold hard cash.

Generosity, at its best, draws upon your entire being, not just your pocketbook.

For instance, you can give of your time, skills, physical belongings, talents, etc.

Helping your overwhelmed friend clean her house is an example of being generous with your time. Playing your guitar at a local nursing home is giving of your talents. You might even help your pal fix the pipes under his sink.

Although you are the one being generous, you are also the one to reap the biggest reward.

Generosity doesn’t come with a paycheck. The gain for you is internal. Your reward is the way you feel after being generous.

Shifts Your Focus from You to Others

For those of you struggling with anxiety, you’re all too familiar with the spotlight of anxiety.

It tends to hone in on a part of your life that feels out of control and illuminate it as bright as the sun.

Your entire being feels mesmerized by this spotlight, and you might even have trouble thinking of anything else. It can cause you to regret the day, to say the least.

Generosity is one the few powerful forces that can actually break the line of this negative spotlight and shift its focus.

When you are giving of yourself to another person or a group of people, an automatic mental redirection happens.

You can’t help but think of others in that moment. And, in that moment, anxiety also loses its stronghold over you.

Generosity Promotes Self-Love

Whether you choose to dust off your old Fender and play some tunes or rev up the Dyson for your friend, you are being generous.

It’s only natural to feel a positive response within yourself when you behave in a generous way. Not that you want to shout your generosity from the rooftops. After all, it’s not about you in this moment.

Rather, you feel a sort of deep satisfaction. The world sort of becomes a bigger place, and you’ve found your place in it now.

These specific feelings and thoughts don’t always last forever, but what does last forever is the love you show yourself that trickles down from these thoughts.

Generosity supports self-love. It’s an undeniable feeling deep within.

As you may have guessed, anxiety doesn’t have much room to dominate when self-love is at the helm.

You Are Relaxed When You are Giving

Anxiety causes tension and tension causes anxiety. It’s a rather cruel cycle.

There are many different strategies to help you activate the parasympathetic nervous system and feel calm again.

For instance, breathing exercises, practicing mindfulness, and surrounding yourself with nature are a few methods.

Generosity has a similar influence on your nervous system.

The key is that you are usually relaxed when you perform acts of generosity. Your focus changes, and then everything else does, too.

As the tension leaves your body, so does the anxiety.

Take the first step…

If you’re ready to take a step toward addressing your anxiety and changing your life for the better, I would like to help. Please contact me by phone or email so that we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Linda K. Laffey, MFT

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