According to the NHS acts of giving and kindness are associated with positive mental wellbeing.
Research has suggested that giving can stimulate the reward areas in the brain and helping others can provide a sense of purpose and self-worth.
2016 has been a dramatic and tumultuous year. There have been upsetting events aplenty such as the deaths of much-loved celebrities, the murder of M.P Jo Cox, the refugee crisis sweeping Europe and the continuing crisis in Syria, while shock political developments such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump have highlighted the divisions and anxieties with which many people will be familiar from their social media timelines. One consequence of this has been a renewed appetite to do something, to help others, to give back in some way no matter how small.
There are some very simple ways to make a difference. You don't need to undertake an arduous task to do some good. Here are 10 weird and wonderful things you can do to give back and generate some of that much needed feel good factor:
- Take the day off and volunteer. There are over 1.5 million opportunities available on the Do-It website.
- Give your car. Giveacar is the UK's first car donation scheme which uses a nationwide network of breakers yards and salvage partners to turn your old car into cash for any UK charity.
- Do some gardening. The Big Dig works with organisations around the country to encourage people to get involved in their local community garden.
- Donate your old bike. The Bike Project take second hand bikes, fix them up, and give them to refugees.
- Follow ZSLLondonZoo on Twitter. They will soon be issuing short videos to explain how small individual efforts to recycle plastic bottles have a much greater impact on the world's oceans.
- Walk a dog. Why not volunteer at your local animal shelter and spend some time playing with homeless dogs or take them for a walk? Brighter Comms in Cardiff are just one business who are giving up whole days to walk their waggly tailed friends
- Run. Goodgym helps you get fit by doing good. They organise regular runs during which you spend time doing something useful for your local community. They operate in 25 areas all over the country.
- Adopt-a-brick. The charity Africat are launching an appeal to 'adopt-a-brick' to help build a permanent school in Namibia.
- Bake. If you have been inspired by the Great British Bake Off put your skills to good use. Research published by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in 2015 found that bake sales in Great Britain helped raise an estimated £185 million for charities.
- Drink beer. Brewgooder turn craft beer into clean water by donating 100% of their profits to clean water projects.
You can do all of these things any time of the year, but why not join thousands of others and do one of these simple tasks on #givingtuesday? #givingtuesday is a campaign calling on people to simply 'do good stuff' for charity. Originally from the US, events now take place in over 70 countries around the world including Canada, Germany, Spain, Singapore, Australia, Tanzania, Russia, Ireland and the UK.
This year it takes place on Tuesday 29 November after the expected shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #givingtuesday is led in the UK by CAF which helps individuals and businesses give to good causes.
If you are seeking inspiration and motivation to do something to make a difference, why not join us?