Target reading time: 3 mins 09 secs
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Target Reading Time: 3 Mins 09 Secs

Why does giving feel so good? It’s trifold.

The rush of giving is undeniable - the feeling you get when you see someone’s face when they are truly grateful is… well, it’s gorgeous isn’t it?

It’s due to a cocktail of feelgood neurochemicals that are secreted (sorry for the gross word, that’s really the only way to say it) whenever we give anything. Any activity that causes your brain to secrete dopamine, serotonin, and/or oxytocin will boost your mood - and the act of giving causes all three!

Oxytocin is the big daddy of the mood-boosting hormones, as it has the added benefit of counteracting the stress hormone, cortisol. The higher your cortisol level, the more you want to help people - and it boosts the levels of the other two hormones as well. That’s the best kind of addictive.

So what’s giving?

Giving can be anything - time, help, gifts, dinners, smiles - it all gives you a hit of the good stuff. The best way to maintain that feeling is to find ways to give regularly. It’s easy enough to build it in to your day really; take your spouse a cuppa, let someone go ahead of you in scrum to the tube, buy a coffee for the person behind you once in a while, offer to help out a neighbour, organise the next get together with your friends… it’s all giving, and will all help to top up your happiness trifecta.

Why are these chemicals released?

Empathy:

Your brain is set up to help you see things from other people’s POV. The problem is that we get so wrapped up in our own sh*t (sorry, mum), that we forget. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, and really understanding how to give them what they need is a great way to exercise your empathy processes. Plus, they get stronger over time - so you’ll get better and giving will get easier.

Mirror Neurons:

Ever noticed that when you smile at someone, nine times out of ten, they smile back? That’s your brains’ mirror neurons triggering. Making people smile is a social thing, that positively impacts both the giver and the receiver.

How can you give more?

Treat yourself to a full dose of feelgoods by trying these three free ways of giving:
  • Hone how you say thanks
Make eye contact, make it personal, make them smile - it’ll take you an extra two seconds of thinking time, but make their whole day.
  • Be stealthy
What are some sneaky ways you can give? Prep the coffee pot for the next person at work, leave a note on someone’s desk, a doodle on the mirror for your housemate...
  • Get weird

To hell with social constructs. If you saw someone dancing to their headphones at the bus stop, singing their coffee order, or, instead of quickly ignoring the fact that they just made eye contact with someone on the tube, gave them a double-gun-fingers-wink - wouldn’t you feel happy?? You get my drift.

FOR THE NERDY: Give a little, get a lot.

[Source: Psychology Today]

Think fast (your 10 second snippet of science to impress your next meeting/party guests/Uber driver): Smiles really are infectious. Ever noticed that when you smile at someone, nine times out of ten, they smile back? That’s your brains’ mirror neurons triggering.

Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad with Walnuts, Parmesan & Lemon-Mustard Dressing

Big thanks to ex-chef-turned-home-cook Jenn Segal (aka @onceuponachef) for this game-changer of a sprout recipe. It takes a certain skill to make a sprout a Hell Yes, at anytime of year. Seriously - it's that good. (NB This isn't vegan - but here's a hack: sub out the parmesan for nutritional yeast, et voila.)

"Be prepared to love this salad of crisp greens, walnuts and lemony Dijon dressing. It tastes like a healthful, crunchy Caesar."

- Jenn

Why is it good for my brain?

Cruciferous veg sound menacing, but are really one of the nicest things you can put in your body. This recipe has two - brussels and kale, so you're in for a winner. They're antioxidant, protect against cell damage and could help to protect against carcinogens, plus they contain omega 3s, which your brain loves. Hooray! The walnut topper is crunchy, awesome and contains vitamin E, magnesium, and loads of DHA omega 3 to keep your brain in great shape and ward off degenerative cognitive decline.

See Full Recipe
Shop Ingredients
Elevation Station
(It’s the weekend before Christmas - so I’ve gone for a festive edition… business as usual next week.)
If you needed any further endorsement of Calm (hi, Heights customer, Co-Founder Michael Acton Smith 👋), here’s Michael Buble, the King of Christmas talking about how he uses it to get to sleep. (youtube)
Into the magic shop by James R Doty, this global bestselling entrepreneur/neurosurgeon is also the founder of Stanford's School of Compassion and Altruism, so if you want to learn about giving, start with this!
Hip hop please, but make it merry. If you have not heard The Grinch, as read by Ja Rule… well. You’re welcome. (youtube audio)
Body positivity, joy, and good vibes about being generally nicer to yourself. @julesvonhep is a welcome dose of smiley realism to your post-christmas-dinner feed.
Donate! I love using beam.org to fund a homeless person to get the skills they need for their next job - in fact that's what my mum get's me for Christmas - donations to Beam! Try it yourself.

Final Thoughts

Last week, I asked if you lot might want to get in early on the Heights "smart supplement" action before we go live in January - and got an incredible reaction, so much so that we’ve almost sold out of our pre launch stock.

It's like an early Christmas present 🎁 for us, so thank you for the support!

We’ve still got a few stashed away in the office for 'emergencies' but, tbh, I don’t know what that would entail... so if you want to be one of the very last people this decade, but the very first to nourish their neurons with our launch product, just hit reply, and I'll hook you up.

This is it people - last chance to finish your decade on a high with Heights 😉 Join some of our rather esteemed early customers and big thinkers like Stephen Fry, Alain De Botton, Baroness Martha Lane Fox and other smart cookies prioritising the most important organ in their body....

Dan 🧠