Latest posts by Deborah Reber (see all)
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It’s no secret that volunteering is good for the soul. Donating your time and energy to help make a difference in the life of someone or to benefit a cause you feel strongly about is an all-around feel-good proposition. It’s just part of how we’re wired as human beings.
But studies show that besides all the good juju you drum up by being generous with your time, there are very real health benefits to boot.
Check out these five tangible positive health effects you can expect as a result of your altruistic spirit:
1. Volunteers are less likely to experience depression: Volunteering keeps things in perspective, which means you’ll be better able focus on the positive things going on in your life as opposed to dwelling on things that bring you down.
2. Volunteering fosters an atmosphere of growth: Says Gretchen Rubin, author of the bestseller The Happiness Project, “You can organize meetings to support your school. You can help out in a soup kitchen. You can give an overworked neighbor some free babysitting. By cultivating an atmosphere of growth, you charge your life with energy and happiness.”
3. Volunteers have stronger relationships with others: Volunteers working together bond over their common goals and share values, resulting in deeper friendship connections.
4. Volunteers are physically healthier: Some of the proven side-effects of volunteering include less incidence of heart disease, fewer aches and pains, and overall better health which results in higher longevity.
5. Volunteering sharpens your brain. Studies show that some of the signs of mental aging, such as lower memory loss and decreased functional ability, can be lessened by actively volunteering. The optimum time commitment? 100 hours per year, or around 2 hours per week.
What wellness benefits have YOU experienced as a result of your volunteering?