When you take the time to help other people through volunteering or donating money, it not only helps them, it makes the world a better place, but it also improves your overall health and wellbeing. Research has indicated that when you give, it increases your happiness along with your health.
Increase your lifespan: When you help others, it’s been shown that it increases life expectancy. How? Studies have shown that when you volunteer at a therapeutic horseback riding facility for at-risk youth or serve food at a homeless shelter, it increases your ability to manage stress, decrease depression, and increase your overall satisfaction with life. Volunteerism helps alleviate loneliness. All of those factors increase lifespan.
Paying it forward: When you do something kind, it makes other people want to do something kind. This can then ripple through your community making it a better place to live. Just think of how it makes you feel when someone has performed a random act of kindness that affected you.
3. Helping others adds to our own happiness:
Scientists have discovered that when we give back, we receive a neurochemical sense of reward. Sociologists conducted research following more than 2,000 people over 5 years. They concluded that when a person volunteered at least 5.8 hours a month, they were far more likely to report themselves as being very happy.
- Reduction in chronic pain:
When someone with chronic pain volunteers to help others with chronic pain, they often experience a reduction in their own symptoms.
- Lowers blood pressure:
A study showed that when participants volunteered for at least 200 hours a year, their risk of hypertension decreased by 40%! It is believed that this is due to the decreasing of loneliness and the stress that comes with being lonely.
- Has a positive impact on teens:
When teens volunteer, not only do they get better grades, but they feel better about themselves. Regardless of age, when we help others it makes us feel good.
- Increases life satisfaction:
When we volunteer, it gives us a sense of purpose. When we have a sense of purpose, we feel better about ourselves. We see a decrease in depression and a reduction in stress.
There are so many reasons to get involved in our communities that it can be difficult to see how it might positively affect our own wellbeing. What are you passionate about? At-risk youth? Veterans? The elderly? Animals? There is always a place to volunteer your time, money, and energy. Look for something that you connect with and feels good. You can’t go wrong when you help others!