Extra time on your hands? Do some good with it! Share your skills and passions with others through volunteer work. You’ll not only help them; you’ll help yourself, too.
That’s right; volunteering has benefits beyond the good deeds themselves. Research has found that adults who volunteer may live longer than non-volunteers. Now, we’re certainly not saying to give up working out and eating healthy, but finding some time to volunteer could be a great boost for your health.
The happiness effect
Helping others is also known to have a positive effect on your mental health. Making a difference in someone else’s life makes you feel good — it’s human nature! In fact, that positive energy that you get from doing a good deed has a name: It’s called a “helpers’ high.” It’s thanks to endorphins, your body’s feel-good chemicals.
Here are a five more reasons to get out and lend a hand:
- It reminds you to appreciate what you have. Volunteering at a soup kitchen or a hospital? Helping those who are going through a hard time can really put things in perspective.
- You feel socially connected. Getting out in the community, interacting with people and making friendsare all good ways to ward off loneliness and depression.
- You gain a renewed sense of purpose. Older adults who are retired may find new meaning and direction in their lives.
- It gives your self-esteem a boost. It feels good to be needed and appreciated.
- It keeps you sharp. Participating in activities that are meaningful and productive may lower the risk of dementia.
Looking for opportunities to make a difference? Visit 211ct.org to search for places to volunteer in your area.