Health Benefits to Volunteering
Turns out your selfless act of kindness may not be so selfless, and that's ok! Recent decades of research are forming wonderfully alarming conclusions that volunteering and helping others has incredible health benefits.
The warm, fuzzy feeling you get when volunteering and helping others actually has it's own physiological origin comprising a chemical makeup which includes endorphins - natural opiates that help relieve stress, reduce pain, and in the long-term, strengthen your very own immune system.
Not only that, but, ScienceDaily.com reported in early June that older adults who volunteered sharply reduced their risk of hypertenstion.
"New research from Carnegie Mellon University shows that older adults who volunteer for at least 200 hours per year decrease their risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure, by 40 percent. The study, published by the American Psychological Association's Psychology and Aging journal, suggests that volunteer work may be an effective non-pharmaceutical option to help prevent the condition."
The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research has also established a strong relationship between volunteering and health. They write that volunteers have "lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer."
Doing GOOD in your community is an act which seeks no reward, however, our bodies and minds certainly seem to be in tune to it's positive impact on the 'person' as a whole. An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Try volunteering as a way to keep the doctor at bay!
Where to start? Check out fun service ideas and inspiration for helping others!