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What Happens When You Give Someone A Present?

1 MIN READ • 4th December 2019

It’s the season for giving so, with the help of therapist and counsellor Francesca Robinson (, find out what happens when someone unwraps your carefully picked pressie

Taking a backseat

“Giving something without expecting anything in return effects the brain because it is, at least partly, an altruistic act,” explains Francesca. “As it prioritises the needs and desires of another person over your own. To offer something that has a specific value and meaning, can be seen as a representation of the feelings of gratitude and love you have towards another person.”

Feel-good hormones

“Research suggests that the satisfaction and pleasure we experience from giving increases the production of neurochemicals, serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine,” says Francesca. “The boost in serotonin secretion (the happy hormone), impacts the same part of the brain that’s affected by anxiety and depression. Serotonin not only lightens our mood, but also helps to reduce stress, regulates our appetite and has a positive impact on the quality of our sleep.”

Language of love

“The impact of giving an object shouldn’t be written off as a materialistic act,” says Francesca. “The symbolic meaning of gifting has a specific role in relationships as a way of communicating love, gratitude and positive feelings towards another person. Giving and receiving sets up a specific relationship between two people. Taking the time to understand if this love language resonates strongly for you, can help open up new channels of communicating love.”

Saying thanks

“Gratitude can be a powerful catalyst,” says Francesca. “Shining a light on the good things that we have contributes to our contentment with life and reciprocity, which is born out of giving, cultivating important human connections. This has a huge impact on your individual happiness, which often extends beyond the individual and outwards into society.”

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