Curated by Renee Moorefield, CEO of Wisdom Works Group
and member of the Advisory Board for the Global Wellness Institute

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
—Anne Frank

In your pursuit as a wellness leader to create a world free of preventable disease,
you have a resource at your disposal that’s easily accessible, abundant,
and free: the contagious power of giving.


GIVING IS A BIO-PSYCHO-SOCIAL-SPIRITUAL ACT

Faiths have long taught that giving—without expecting anything in return—is vital to a life of wholeness, as well as to our evolution as human beings. In Hinduism, charitable acts of giving are integral to karma yoga, the path of selfless service. Zakat (or charity), the Third pillar in Muslim tradition, is crucial to the wellbeing of the needy and the wealthy alike, and giving is foundational to the Bahá’í as service to humanity. In Christianity, acts of gratitude and giving are avenues to self-transcendence. And in Buddhism, dana, generously giving without any strings attached, is one of ten perfections or qualities that lead to a state of awakening.

When it comes to body and mind, engaging in altruistic giving ignites a “strong neurological network comprised of multiple regions of our brain that can over time transform the way we behave and socialize with others.” Our kindness is chemical, physiologically stimulating the healthy release of dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin and enabling us to experience a glow of wellbeing, as well as a deeper sense of belonging and connection. Giving gratefully is also linked with biological correlates of health (e.g., less rise in our blood pressure when we face stress), less anxiety, depression, anger, and sleep challenges, as well as greater longevity, happiness, and health. Giving is also positively contagious; when people experience kindheartedness, they are more likely to pay it forward to others.


STRENGTHEN YOUR LEADERSHIP THROUGH GIVING

When we truly give, we tap into humility, a deep knowing that our lives are full of privilege and abundance and we want to extend that to other people and the planet. As a demonstration of wellness leadership, your organization can be a tool for giving strategically. And there is tremendous need—from clean water and food equity to gender inclusion and social justice. Sharing a portion of your revenues, rallying employee volunteerism, and leveraging your relationships for a worthy cause are excellent examples of giving as part of your business model and impact.

As a wellness leader, every moment is an opportunity for giving, too. For most of the people you touch on a day-to-day basis, the best gifts aren’t money or things. They are the intangibles, such as being heard, respected, valued, and accepted. Experiment with these moments of giving to enhance wellbeing in your team and organization—as well as within yourself:

LEADING YOUR TEAM OR ORGANIZATION

  • Give your gratitude. When we give gratitude to others, we recognize that we live and work in relationship. There is little that we think or do that is solely on our own. Say “thank you” not just for a job well done, but for how people show up fully and work together to create a thriving, inclusive culture that uplifts everyone.
  • Give your presence. This is about mindful attention, simply being in the moment with receptivity, openness, curiosity, and engagement. It’s about real listening, using your whole being as an instrument of awareness. And it’s about vulnerability, putting your pretenses aside so that you build deeper connections with others. When you give your full presence, you gain, too; as artist Mary Anne Radmacher says so well, “As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.”
  • Give the gift of quiet. In our noisy world, quiet is a rare commodity. Within a team meeting or a community meal, lead one of these breath practices or pause for a moment of silence. This simple act invites people to more deeply connect with themselves so that they show up more fully in their lives and work.

LEADING YOURSELF

  • Give yourself space. Take time each day to check in with yourself from a place of compassion and self-love. In this judgment-free zone, you can gain fresh perspective on your life and work. And you may even discover adjustments you can make that better serve your wellbeing.
  • Give yourself respect. How? Be honest with yourself about who you are and who you aren’t. Identify and nurture those activities that bring you alive—whether it’s how you eat, move, learn, play, or any other thing—instead of letting others define that for you. Whenever possible, choose relationships at work and at home that are nourishing rather than depleting. Like every human being on this planet, you are worthy of dignity and respect—make sure you are giving that to yourself.

GIVE YOUR WISDOM TO THE WELLNESS MOONSHOT COMMUNITY!

The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease community is a space in which all of us can learn from each other’s wisdom and experiences. Share a story on social media with #wellnessmoonshot about how you GIVE within your wellness leadership; we’ll spread your inspiration worldwide! 

Next month, we’ll explore what HONOR means to effective wellness leadership! Until then, check out each of these Wellness Moonshot articles from past years with invaluable insights and strategies for your wellness leadership journey.


RESOURCES

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