Doing This Helps More Than You Realize

You know volunteering helps others. But it also provides you with these valuable benefits.

Helping others is an obvious benefit of volunteering. And one that is impressive all by itself. But you may not realize that the benefits of volunteering go far beyond what you can do for others.  When you make an effort to give back to your community, it also has positive effects on your health and well-being.

Some benefits of volunteering may seem obvious. But there are others you may not think about or that may not become apparent to you until long after you begin your volunteer activities.

Research over the past two decades points to a relationship between volunteering and better health, indicating that people who volunteer have greater functional ability, lower rates of depression later in life and lower mortality rates than those who don’t volunteer. Older volunteers are more likely to get the most benefits from volunteering. 

People who volunteer report:

  • Higher levels of happiness
  • Stronger self-esteem
  • Greater satisfaction with their lives
  • A sense of control over their lives
  • Less stress
  • More energy

Volunteering keeps you physically active, socially connected and mentally stimulated. It can add meaning to your life and may even improve your health. Although the research doesn’t clearly identify whether volunteering causes these benefits or if people who are more likely to volunteer already enjoy better physical or mental health, there are numerous benefits you may experience when you volunteer.

Volunteering helps:

  • Connect you to others
  • Develop new skills
  • Boost your spirits
  • Keep your mind sharper
  • Increase self-confidence
  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure

You don’t need any special skills or experience to volunteer. Just find something you’re enthusiastic about doing and bring along a positive attitude. You’ll be helping others while also doing something good for you yourself.

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Date Last Reviewed: February 13, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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