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The Psychology of Compassion

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Why You Give

The Psychology of Compassion

Warm, fuzzy, brain chemistry

It’s been a difficult year for many people: job losses, life uncertainty, medical issues, and the pandemic. Yet, people still give and show compassion. Even despite the difficulty, why do people still give to Animal Place and other causes that they care about? Giving brings us joy!

Donating to causes you care about is not an entirely selfless act. That warm feeling you get after giving comes from activated pleasure-related areas of the brain. These areas light up in fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging OR functional MRI) scans, showing the most activity after people give voluntarily. Acts of compassion, like giving, not only have effects on the brain, but they also decrease illness, extend life longevity, broaden our perspectives beyond ourselves, and bring a feeling of purpose to people’s lives. 

You feel good when you give, your gifts certainly help the organization you donate to, and encourage others to contribute as well! Acts of giving and compassion are contagious, so when you are seen giving it can directly influence your peers to be generous as well. Think about when you donate to Animal Place on Facebook. Your friends see that post and then they contribute as well!

Giving to Animal Place can bring a sense of joy and purpose not only to you, but to Molly May the pig, Magnolia the cow, and all the others who call Animal Place home. Small acts of kindness start a ripple effect that brings joy to many more. Molly the pig encourages you to give to Animal Place today because she wants you to experience that warm feeling, she wants you to live longer, and to feel connected to her and her other friends at Animal Place!

– Jennifer Leach, Outreach Coordinator