We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. (Winston Churchill)

Powerful words by Churchill. And he is so right. By giving we unleash so much happiness in ourselves!

At the start of 2021, I joined the worldwide Facebook post, whereby the first 5 people who shared my post and committed to paying it forward would receive a random gift from me throughout the year. I sent cupcakes to Gauteng and Durbanville, and coffee vouchers to Stellenbosch. I have no idea whether my 5 recipients actually paid it forward but you know what? It really doesn’t matter.

Although it’s lovely to receive a gift, the true joy lies in gifting someone else.  Whilst growing up, my job was always to wrap the gifts. I spent so much time and effort wrapping and decorating each gift (big and small!), and was giddy with joy as I watched the gifts being unwrapped.

In adult life, it’s still the same. It’s not the size of the gift that matters but rather the attitude, thoughtfulness, kindness, and blessing that you bestow onto someone else. Giving also includes mentoring and kindness in the workplace. In my LinkedIn article I explore How to encourage a collaborative workplace and offer useful tips in a video.


In a number of my previous blogs, I have focused on introspection and our internal world, and one, in particular, focused on happiness

Happiness is the true reward when giving.  When you give a gift to someone your body releases endorphins that makes you feel great and the effects can last for hours. The act literally ignites the pleasure and reward centers in your brain, as if you are the one receiving the gift.

Giving is:

  • Good for your overall health
  • Creates happiness
  • Offers perspective. If we only focus on our own situation, we magnify the problem. But when you turn your focus on others, you are able to see the blessing you can bring to others, putting your situation in clear perspective.
  • Promotes unselfishness through social connection
  • Evokes gratitude
  • Ignites a ripple effect


  1. Charity
  • Give to a charity your time, your money, or things
  • Participate in a charity walk or run
  • Sign up for a bone marrow registry
  • Organise a donation drive for colouring books, toys and art supplies for a local hospital pediatric ward
  1. Volunteer

Volunteering is an excellent way to give and it actually boosts your happiness levels. There is overwhelming evidence to support this claim, and a 2017 study conducted the United Healthcare 2017 found that 93% of people who volunteered over the previous year felt happier as a result. The study also found that of all the respondents who had spent time volunteering:

  • 89% reported an expanded worldview.
  • 88% noticed increased self-esteem.
  • 85% developed friendships through volunteering.
  • 79% experienced less stress.
  • 78% felt greater control over their health and wellbeing.
  • 75% felt physically healthier.
  • 34% could better manage a chronic illness

Join a cause that is close to your heart – animal rescue, the elderly or education. I am the co-founder of Goldilocks and the Bear Foundation, South Africa’s first non-profit ADHD screening and early intervention services which aim to remove mental health barriers to education in underprivileged communities. We have a number of volunteers that support our initiatives and many who donate books and stationery.  For more visit www.gb4adhd.co.za

  1. Support friends and family

Remember, your love languages (deeds of service, quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, and giving gifts) may differ, so find the recipient’s love language needed as part of your support.

  • Cook them a meal
  • Watch the kids for an afternoon
  • Fix their garage door
  • Send a message to your friend saying you are thinking of them
  • Attend a dance recital or sporting event, of a friend’s child
  • Write a sweet, encouraging note and put it in your child’s lunch box or under their pillow
  • Although not your friend, your child’s teacher plays an integral role in your life! Write a thank-you note to a teacher, and email the school principal with admiration after a successful sports day hosted at the school.
  1. Random acts of kindness

Whichever way you decide to gift, always choose kindness. Small acts of kindness aimed at strangers as you go about your day, are incredibly powerful:

  • Let someone cut in front of you in line
  • Plant a tree
  • Buy a warm meal for someone in need
  • Donate flowers to a nursing home
  • Pick up litter on the street or at the beach and throw it out
  • Write an online review for a restaurant, small business, or product that you love
  • Learn CPR
  • Drop freshly baked cookies off at your local police or fire station

Once you start reframing your focus on giving, you will find many opportunities! Find one thing each day – big or small – and watch your happiness grow.