Re-prescription Part I: GENEROSITY

  1. some research or science (Part III has Lin-Manuel lyrics as data)
  2. Susan’s story of how it ties into Nonprofit Wellness
  3. more to DO (or read) from here
We see the Prescription as nourishing your “roots” so you can grow and flower.

The science is clear on generosity: Helping others helps us.

“When there was the threat of them being taken away, I knew it would be bad for my mental health,”… “The bins are the one thing that are keeping me from feeling completely useless.” Feb 26, 2022— Lara Kris Watson, my neighbor who hosts the Takoma Free Bins, which received a county inspection violation notice. Here’s the Washington Post article about the recent kerfuffle.

Lara Kris Watson at the “Purple Bins.” Photo by Sarah L. Voisin, curator of Takoma Park Free Art Library & photographer at The Washington Post.
  1. random acts of kindness (spontaneous, often with strangers)
  2. scheduled volunteering (pre-determined shift of service);
  3. financial donations, any time of year, any amount — tithing, school donations or tax-deductible charity gifts (often as part of a community);
  4. community support, like making meals for a new parent, or shoveling snow for a senior (highly personal and relationship-driven).

Science tidbits on generosity:

  • The saliva of compassionate people contains more immunoglobulin A, an antibody that fights off infections.
  • Brain scans show links between generosity and a calmer disposition, better emotional health, and higher self-worth.
  • Generosity can lower blood pressure, increase self-esteem, lower depression, and lower stress levels.
  • Our brains create a “Helper’s High” cocktail of serotonin (a mood-mediating chemical), dopamine (a feel-good chemical) and oxytocin (a compassion and bonding chemical) when we are being/feeling generous.

Susan’s story and the Nonprofit Wellness link

WAiT, WuT? Why didn’t we put GENEROSITY on our Personal Stress Prescription, if we know it is such a great stress reliever?

It was, TBH, a defensive decision back in 2018.

Because in nonprofits and schools, we are too generous already!

V.2 added crafting, drums, intoxicants, etc…what should be added in V.3?

So, do we really want to encourage burned out staff to keep being “generous”?

How about — we reframe generosity, to include ourselves.

  • Download and fill out a Personal Stress Prescription, with an eye toward how to make more time for the exact activities that bring you joy (and what you are going decrease to make time for this joy). We have more than a dozen other original wellness tools for you to explore and discuss.
  • Figure out when “giving at the office” is too much: Is it a certain # of hours/day/week? Is it the level of trauma of those hours? Are women expected to “give” even more at the office or at home? What about parents’ needs? What about kiddos? Is your hard work accounted and paid for?
  • Generosity TO OTHERS isn’t always what nurturer-professionals need. It’s generosity to OURSELVES that matters more now. What kind of self-care do you need for bare-minimum functioning? And for optimal?
  • Maybe you need a new, different type of generosity? Try random acts of kindness or a different financial contribution, of whatever size, to boost your nervous system. Creativity master Seth Godin offers, “Simple hack: change things in your life to make things better for someone else. Generosity unlocks our passion.

& WE NEED YOUR HELP TOO

Science says we should include “Generosity” on the Prescription, but how?

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Susan Comfort

Susan Comfort

Co-founder of NonprofitWellness.org, manager of the DC/Balto/Pitt Alvéole teams, Tinkergarten leader, queer parent, bee promoter.