Your heart is warm, you feel engaged in the world that’s happening around you, and you have a sense of fulfillment unlike any other. If you’re like me, this is the feeling you receive after volunteering. Everyone has his or her own reasons for volunteering as well as the unique feeling you experience after. But take a look at these 5 health benefits of volunteering you may not have thought of.
1.) Social Interaction
In today’s technologically driven society, too many people feel a sense of detachedness from the outside world. This lack of interaction can lead to an occasional feeling of loneliness or full on depression. Whichever the case, volunteering has proven to be a way to bridge the gap.
2.) Physical Health
Regular volunteering over a certain period of time has been linked to lower blood pressure as well as lead to greater longevity. (https://www.nationalservice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/07_0506_hbr_brief.pdf)
3.) Stress Reduction
Stress reduction and lower rates of depression have also been linked to volunteering. If you’re volunteering for the right reasons (to help others and not to make yourself feel better), you will find the liberating feeling that comes along with it. You’re not doing it because your boss or professor told you to do so. There’s no deadlines, no pressure, just you and members of your community working to reach a common goal. This enables us to live more in the moment and not worry about the stressors of school or work that we are unable to control.
4.) Memory Retention
Studies show that volunteering can help delay or even prevent Alzheimer’s disease, as it’s a strong source of social interaction. Activities like tutoring or reading, that stimulate the brain, are the best form of volunteering to achieve memory retention.
5.) Overall Happiness
Helping others gives you a sense of purpose and increased self-esteem that can lead to improved mental health among volunteers.
If you know someone who is lacking in one of the preceding categories, persuade them to volunteer with you! It’s one of the easiest, fulfilling things you can do to raise your spirits and help someone else out in the process.