Giving Tuesday: How to Give to Yourself by Giving to Others

By Phillip Miner | Posted on November 27, 2017 

It’s easy to feel powerless in today’s world. Mass media almost makes it impossible not  to get swept up in the maelstrom of horrible events that seem to occur on a daily basis. Any number of recent events can be enough to induce feelings of powerlessness in anyone. And powerlessness can easily segue into guilt, for the simple reason that many people believe that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

The Importance of Addressing Powerlessnes

Feelings of powerlessness and guilt can easily manifest as physical symptoms. Perhaps the most obvious of symptoms is a  lack of energy and motivation. A study conducted by the University of Cambridge demonstrated that people who feel powerless find everyday tasks to be more physically challenging than those who feel a greater sense of power and control over their lives.

Thankfully, doing something in the face of powerlessness - the very act of giving to or helping someone out  - can create the opposite effect, and not only make you feel more powerful, but also healthier and happier. Numerous scientific studies have shown the positive effects of helpfulness, from boosting your immune system to alleviating symptoms of depression. So how do we overcome feelings of powerlessness?

Just like Newton’s First Law of Motion - an object at rest tends to stay at rest - if you’re feeling powerless, it can be difficult to figure out how to counter those feelings and actually do something. After all, with so much malevolence going on in the world, how do you know where to start? Thankfully, a movement has emerged that seeks to help this phenomenon – of being powerless, guilty, and not knowing what to do about it – by organizing methods of helping into a single day of action. This is Giving Tuesday.

What is #GivingTuesday?

Giving Tuesday, while not  necessarily confined to a specific Tuesday, is symbolically dated to be November 28, the Tuesday after Black Friday, the biggest shopping day in America (and increasingly other parts of the world), and a day after Cyber Monday, the biggest day of online shopping. This date was chosen for a reason: after a day that is focused on accumulation, a day focused on giving back is much needed. The official Giving Tuesday website lists ways that we can give back, whether it’s through volunteering, donating to organizations you believe in, or even by lending your voice to a cause you are passionate about. They also have a resource that you can use to locate local charities in need of help.

Giving or serving through Giving Tuesday doesn’t have to just be about helping others. It can be about helping yourself, too. After all, the best way to alleviate the feeling of powerlessness is to do something productive. Giving Tuesday, therefore, offers not only an opportunity to help others, but to help yourself.

The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF) helps out with many disaster relief operations in various parts of the world. AOLF helps out with everything from short term material relief efforts, to healing the trauma of the victims through our programs, to long term community rehabilitation and rebuilding of infrastructure. When you give to AOLF, there other donors ready to match any donation up to $50,000. Click here to donate to AOLF’s disaster relief efforts!

Be kind to both yourself and your favorite cause, by giving of yourself – any way you can – on Giving Tuesday.

Phillip Miner writes his own spirituality blog, Light Club. He also writes on topics of spirituality for publications such as Hinduism Today.