In fact, merely promising to be more generous is enough to trigger changes in our brain that lead to greater happiness.
People in the study did not need to be extremely generous to see the benefits to happiness levels.
Dr Philippe Tobler, one of the study’s authors, said:
“You don’t need to become a self-sacrificing martyr to feel happier.Brain scans revealed that even the intent to be generous was linked to activity in the ventral striatum, an area important in the feeling of happiness.
Just being a little more generous will suffice.”
Dr Tobler said:
“It is remarkable that intent alone generates a neural change before the action is actually implemented.People were also asked about their happiness levels before and after the experiment.
Promising to behave generously could be used as a strategy to reinforce the desired behavior, on the one hand, and to feel happier, on the other.”