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Raising more than a smile with community spirit

Tue 14th Jul 20

Life in lockdown has brought community spirit to the fore. Whether acts that raise millions or simple gestures that bring a smile, making a difference is positive for all! Executive Chairman, Tim Ryan, looks at the benefits of being philanthropic.

The coronavirus pandemic…it’s been challenging in so many ways, but it’s also had some positive effects. Every cloud has it’s silver lining, after all. Looking at the world around us, we can see that there have been positive environmental changes. We’ve been able to hear and see nature much more and the air has to have become cleaner during the weeks when traffic was lower than it’s been in decades.

The biggest benefit that I can see, though, is that life in lockdown has brought community spirit to the fore. I’ve covered off the massive business benefits of being charitable at work, but the act of giving offers massive advantages for individuals, too. Probably a good reason why the teams at Ryan’s are always so ready with a smile…we’re a very happy bunch!

Scaling up your happiness levels

Regardless of how contented you may feel with the life you’ve created for yourself, there’s still greater happiness to achieve. And without doubt, giving, whether money or time, will make you feel happier.

This is a proven fact and, in a study by professors at two US universities, it was found that people who give to others tend to score much higher on feelings of joy and contentment than those who do not give to others.

Reward yourself with happy hormones

Did you know that, when making charitable donations, our bodies create a surge of dopamine and endorphins, making us feel happy and rewarded.

And the act of giving can also lead to health benefits. In the book ‘Why Good Things Happen to Good People’, Stephen Prost says that donating has been shown to increase health benefits in people with chronic illnesses. Donating may also improve physical health and bring better chances of longer life, as it can help reduce stress, too.

More giving, less stress

Charitable giving and community spirit have also been found to reduce stress levels and lower people’s blood pressure. That’s possibly another good reason why it makes us all feel so contented when we are philanthropic.

Create a community for yourself

They say a smile is worth a thousand words. I think it’s worth a lot more than that. It’s actually the gift that keeps on giving.

That’s because, as well as giving those around us a mood boost, smiling also helps our bodies to release cortisol and endorphins. Which in turn help to reduce blood pressure, pain and stress and to strengthen our immune systems. Giving back to the community creates a friendly network for all, which probably means more smiles from neighbours, too.

During lockdown, while working from home to make sure we’re there for our customers, many of the team members at Ryan’s have been giving their time and skills to help others. Take a look at just some of them here.

MD Robin Belsom who organised this weekend's virtual Ekiden relay raising over £1,000 for East Anglian Air Ambulance