Volunteering your time, money, or energy to help others doesn’t just make the world better—it also makes you better. Studies indicate that the very act of giving back to the community boosts your happiness, health, and sense of well-being. Here are seven scientific benefits of lending a hand to those in need.
Want to extend your lifespan? Think about regularly assisting at a soup kitchen or coaching a basketball team at an at-risk high school. Research has shown that these kinds of activities can improve health in ways that can length your lifespan—volunteers show an improved ability to manage stress and stave off disease as well as reduced rates of depression and an increased sense of life satisfaction—when they were performed on a regular basis. This might be because volunteering alleviates loneliness and enhances our social lives—factors that can significantly affect our long-term health.
When one person performs a good deed, it causes a chain reaction of other altruistic acts. One study found that people are more likely to perform feats of generosity after observing another do the same. This effect can ripple throughout the community, inspiring dozens of individuals to make a difference.
One team of sociologists tracked 2000 people over a five-year period and found that Americans who described themselves as “very happy” volunteered at least 5.8 hours per month. This heightened sense of well-being might be the byproduct of being more physically active as a result of volunteering, or because it makes us more socially active. Researchers also think that giving back might give individuals a mental boost by providing them with a neurochemical sense of reward.
According to one study, people who suffered from chronic pain tried working as peer volunteers. As a result, they experienced a reduction in their own symptoms.
If you’re at risk for heart problems, your doctor has probably told you to cut back on red meat or the hours at your stressful job. However, you should also consider adding something to your routine: a regular volunteer schedule. One piece of research showed that older individuals who volunteered for at least 200 hours a year decreased their risk of hypertension by a whopping 40 percent. This could possibly be because they were provided with more social opportunities, which help relieve loneliness and the stress that often accompanies it.
According to sociologists, teenagers who volunteer have better grades and self-image.
Looking for more meaning in your day-to-day existence? Studies show that volunteering enhances an individual’s overall sense of purpose and identity—particularly if they no longer hold a life-defining role like “worker” or “parent.” #wisdom #share
I am so excited to be heading to West Virginia tonight. Anyone who has visited there knows it is a beautiful state (as John Denver knew in his famous song). But did you know that there are some great things happening economically? That the government, with leadership such as with Senator Manchin's office, is working really hard to promote thousands of open jobs there, recruit new industry and businesses and put Government, non-profits and for-profits together to help West Virginia working families? It's true and it's pretty exciting to see commitment like this that crosses boundaries. If you haven't checked out jobs in WV, I suggest you do.
We will be rolling out a section of Jobcase just for WV this week (and already plans under way to keep improving it as we roll into September). I'll post more about it later. But first a question:
What's your favorite thing bout West Virginia? Hopefully some West Virginians can offer some thoughts, but I welcome anyone who has visited there to share as well... #AlmostHeaven #WestVirginia #WV #share #opportunity #StrongerTogether