We live in a world where the repetitive message is “take”.
Take what is “yours”. Take your money and spend it on things for yourself. Take your time and use it to consume things.
I’m sure you can remember the last time you “took”, but what about the last time you “gave”? And not gave to your kids or those closest to you, but gave to a stranger or to a cause?
Admittedly, I sometimes have a difficult time recalling a recent act of giving. We are conditioned takers. Survival of the fittest, right?
As it turns out, giving and helping others is really, really good for us. We even have scientific data to prove it. In this TED Talk, Michael Norton shows how spending money on others, even very small amounts, actually makes us happier than when we spend the same amount of money on ourselves.
Don’t have money to give? No problem. Give your time. We all have the same amount of time- it’s just a matter of deciding how to spend it. Choose to spend a little bit of yours on giving. Those who regularly volunteer their time experience less stress, improved moods, an enriched sense of purpose, and a better outlook on their own health.
In other words, giving takes your focus off of your sense of self and puts your focus on to others. It reminds you that there is more to this life than the day-to-day drivel and dramas and reconnects you with humanity. It is a much better way to cultivate your own happiness than shopping or watching television or scrolling Facebook.
James and I are trying to incorporate more giving into our lives. On MLK Day, we our spent time at EarthDance Farms helping with various projects. As I sorted sweet potatoes and chatted with other volunteers, my iPhone chimed with emails in my pocket- some important, but most representative of those day-to-day “dramas” I mentioned. A stark contrast emerged. I felt as if I was elevated above my day-to-day life looking down on it. What did I see? Many things I routinely label as “important” suddenly looked very UNimportant. Giving gives you that perspective.
Want to be happier? I have an idea. Make these cookies and then give them to someone. It is a science-backed method for improving your happiness while simultaneously improving someone else’s.
Why avocado? Why not! Avocados are a source of creamy, delicious healthy fat. A new study says an avocado a day is really good for your heart. Very fitting since giving is good for your heart too.
- ½ an avocado
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup soymilk (or milk of choice)
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat (or use the same cookie sheet for both batches).
- Scoop avocado flesh out of its skin and into a bowl. Mash well with a fork.
- Add coconut oil, vanilla, soymilk, and sugar to the mashed avocado and stir until combined.
- In another bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until well-combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Scoop out 1 tablespoon amounts of the dough, shape into loose balls, and place about 2 inches apart on your prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until somewhat firm. The cookies will remain light in color, so don't wait until they brown to take them out of the oven!
- Store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days or store in the freezer.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving Plant Eaters’ Manifesto your precious time today!