Welcome to #SpoilYourselfSunday, where we celebrate simple and frugal ways to enjoy a little me-time. Of course, it's Valentine's Day, but did you know it's also International Book Giving Day? You're probably already giving some gifts today, so we wanted to give you the low-down on the benefits of giving - as if you needed another excuse!
Click through for 6 ways giving makes us happy!

1. We're more hopeful.

We all want to help make the world a better place, right? A study released in association with #GivingTuesday in 2012 found 60 percent of respondents reported that when they give, they feel hopeful that their contribution can make a difference.

2. We're more satisfied with ourselves.

Not even spending money on yourself can equal the joy that comes from giving. A 2008 report from Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton showed that people thought they'd be happier spending money on themselves, but when put to the test they actually felt happier when they gave that money to others. The coolest thing is, it didn't even matter what amount of money was given or what income level the giver reported.

3. We're less stressed.

When you give, your blood pressure decreases and endorphins are released, making your stress levels take a nosedive. We can feel it, too: in a 2010 study of people who volunteered their time, 73 percent reported lower stress levels.

4. We live longer.

Healthy and happy go together like peanut butter and jelly! A pair of studies from 1999 and 2003, respectively, found that elderly people were much less likely to die over a 5-year period if they volunteered their time or provided emotional or physical support to people they knew.

5. We feel more trusting and connected to others. 

Giving to others causes a release of oxytocin, a hormone that makes us feel warm, happy, and socially connected. For up to 2 hours afterward, we still feel the glow of that empathy!

6. We spread our generosity.

Nothing is more powerful that feeling you can make an immediate difference in someone else's life, especially if it leads to lasting change. A team of UC San Diego and Harvard researchers demonstrated that one person's altruism can inspire similar acts in observers - to the extent that your generosity can spread by three degrees (from you to another person, to another, to another) when you give! So not only do we feel more generous, we feel good knowing we could have inspired hundreds of people to do the same.

Need some giving inspiration? Here's a list of 5 ways to maximize your own happiness while you pay it forward. Spoil yourself while you spoil others! What's your favorite way to give? Let us know on social media @catchyfreebies using the hashtag #SpoilYourselfSunday!

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