Why you need to consider volunteering
Time is one of our most valuable assets and often the best, yet, most difficult thing to give away.
Did you know that there are direct and indirect benefits to giving your time and resources towards a cause you believe in? Not only will those you physically help benefit but you could benefit perhaps even more – emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Researchers at Stony Brook University found that when we’re generous our brains release several chemicals that give us a sense of joy and peace. In fact, making generosity a regular habit may even influence long-term wellbeing and happiness.
According to Hilary Young, writing for Huffington Post: United Health Group commissioned a national survey of 3,351 adults to find out how volunteering affected them. The research found that the overwhelming majority of participants reported feeling mentally and physically healthier after a volunteer experience.
Here are some of the stats they collected:
• 76% of people who volunteered in the last year said that volunteering has made them feel healthier.
• 94% of people who volunteered in the last year said that volunteering improved their mood.
• 78% of them said that volunteering lowered their stress levels.
• 96% reported that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose in life.
• 80% of them feel like they have control over their health.
• About a quarter of them reported that their volunteer work has helped them manage a chronic illness by keeping them active and taking their minds off of their own problems.
• Volunteers have better personal scores than non-volunteers on nine well-established measures of emotional wellbeing, including personal independence, capacity for rich interpersonal relationships and overall satisfaction with life.
• Volunteering also improved their self-esteem.
Isn’t that interesting?
To be honest, the more we read about the benefits of volunteering, the more we are astounded by the positive effects it can have on the volunteers.
For example, how it can radically boost the recovery of addicts. Researchers with Project MATCH, a comprehensive alcoholism treatment trial, found that people in Alcoholics Anonymous double their chances of success when they help others.
The truth is, as we take the focus off ourselves and shine the spotlight onto others who also need help, we learn more about ourselves. That same idea is being used to help people suffering from depression and other disorders – to let them help others so they can better deal with their own issues.
Turns out, in the end, sharing is caring… not only for the person your sharing with, but maybe even more so for yourself.
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