Evidence That It Works
Participants in a study were assigned to give three “gifts of time” by meeting up with three people they care about in the same week—above and beyond their normal activities. When compared to a group who journaled daily about their memories, they reported greater happiness one month later. The longer they continued the practice of giving time to others, the more their happiness increased.
Why Does It Matter?
Time can feel particularly scarce for students as they juggle school work, extracurriculars, family obligations, and other responsibilities. When students are busy, it’s easy to sacrifice quality time with others in favor of work and other obligations. But that can lead to regrets. Students fall out of touch with friends or distance themselves from family members. This exercise ensures that students allocate time for the important people in their lives.
In turn, taking time for social connection allows students to build up a store of positive experiences and supportive relationships that they can draw strength from in the future, potentially leading to better health and more success in their work or help getting through hard times. The benefits of gifted time extend to the recipients as well, leading to greater well-being for both students and their loved ones.
Plus, the gift of time is absolutely free—it’s one that anyone can give.