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The "Gift" of Giving

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

The essence of giving is not just a wrapped present or money. A "gift" can be shared with a simple smile, a kind word, or a gesture. Kindness, when freely given with no expectations of return, is unconditional love.

Moment to moment, I choose to live my life with gratitude for the love that fills my heart, the peace that rests within my spirit, with a foundation of hope and resiliency that all things are possible in the future. Shanti Dechen, CCAP, CAI, LMT

The act of giving can create a "warm glow," which activates regions in the brain associated with pleasure, connection with other people, and trust. There is evidence that, during gift-giving behaviors, humans secrete "feel good" chemicals in our brains, such as serotonin (a mood-mediating chemical), dopamine (a feel-good chemical), and oxytocin (compassion and bonding chemical).

Some health benefits associated with giving can include:

• Lower blood pressure.

• Increased self-esteem.

• Less depression.

• Lower stress levels.

• Longer life.

• Greater happiness and satisfaction.

We recently reached out to our graduate teachers and students to share their own life experiences of giving, receiving, appreciation, and gratitude. Thank you to all who came forward and contributed their voices to share with you.~

Giving comes on many levels, big and small. Give according to your ability to do so. A heartfelt gift is better than one of wealth with no heart. Each action of giving with positive intent goes a long way in transforming the universe. Give with love; that is the simple action.

Gregory Carter, CCA, CAI, LMT, ND

I've always enjoyed doing favors for people, remembering their birthday, or buying a special gift I knew they would enjoy. But I fully realized the true joy of giving seeing my small children opening their gifts from Santa on Christmas morning.

In our current world, restrictions due to a pandemic, changes in our jobs, concerns about getting sick affect our daily lives in myriad ways. Giving, whether it's material goods or gifts of our time, relieves us from focusing on ourselves.

These days, I joyfully prepare aromatherapy products and give them to friends, neighbors, and others during the holidays. Not only does the recipient feel like the most special person in the world, but I do as well. The more you give, the more comes back to you. I cherish the beautiful souls sharing this lifetime with me. Natalie Zalenka, CCI, CCA

With the addition of knowledge in natural wellness, I used aromatherapy inhalation and topical application of essential oil blends, herbal teas, flower essences, tinctures, and other natural therapies at different times along the way. I have created a petal-like, smooth and lightweight, simple-minded, and hearted wellness for myself. I have learned to keep my own goals first and simplify as much as possible in areas I am willing to be and stay simple.

This holiday season and every day, I am most thankful for my family and nature's health and wellness. My gift to you this season is a wish of courage and strength to continue your wellness journey and to