You may have heard the common phrase, “It’s better to give than receive.” It may seem like a bit of a cliche, but science has proven it to be true. Giving back has proven benefits for your health and wellbeing. Read on for 4 reasons why service makes you happier and healthier.
Volunteering can provide a physical health benefit by lowering your stress levels. When you take the focus off of yourself and your own problems, you are more likely to be grateful for the good things in your life. This can help reduce your stress levels and boost your endorphins. Simply focusing on the positive elements of your life instead of the negative can improve your overall outlook on life, and lower your general stress levels.
Lower Blood Pressure
Stephanie Watson, Executive Editor at Harvard Women’s Health Watch published an article enumerating the benefits of volunteering. She argues that volunteering can improve health by helping lower blood pressure. In the article, she states, “Evidence of volunteerism’s physical effects can be found in a recent study from Carnegie Mellon University, published this month in Psychology and Aging. Adults over age 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. High blood pressure is an important indicator of health because it contributes to heart disease, stroke, and premature death.”
Improve Social Skills
Empathy and understanding are just a few of the social skills you can develop by serving others. You can also deepen your ability to build relationships with new people. Since many service programs require a group to work together, you can meet new people all working towards a common goal, and broaden your social network. The relationships you establish, both with fellow volunteer and those you are serving can provide a lifelong source of fulfillment.
Volunteer positions, particularly those in which you take a leadership role, can offer a positive impact on your resume. Hiring managers look favorably upon people who volunteer regularly because they tend to be less selfish, and able to work well with others. You can also gain new skills through a volunteer position that will help you further your career in the long run, and give you more diverse career options.
Ways You Can Volunteer or Do Service
Now that you know the benefits of volunteering, it’s time to dive in! There are many different organizations that could use a little extra manpower as they serve the community. Find one whose goals lines up with your own to make your volunteer time more enjoyable and effective.
Walk shelter animals
Visit nursing home residents
Assist with distribution at your local food pantry
Mentor a child
Clean up litter at your local park
Join the school PTA
Volunteer in a hospital
Help paint or provide building maintenance for a local charity
Volunteer for Better Health
Serving others has been proven to have both physical and emotional health benefits. Find an organization whose goals match your own and spend time volunteering each month. You will not only be improving your own health, but also your community as a whole.