6 Health Benefits of Giving and Volunteering
Do you remember the last great gift you were excited to give to a family member or friend? Do you remember their smile upon receiving your gift and how it made you feel? The act of giving in infectious and happiness is always palpable.
It turns out that giving is good not only for the soul but for the body as well. Here are a few ways how:
According to a Carnegie Mellon University study, “Adults over age 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers.” Volunteering could increase the physical activity of those who are otherwise aren’t typically active and reduce stress levels.
There is evidence that people who are happy are more productive at work. Volunteering can be both a powerful and unifying experience for a company or organization. Our employee volunteer program brings coworkers together in their own communities to provide brand new winter coats to kids in need.
Giving and volunteering can help people focus less on themselves and channel that energy into helping others. According to University of Michigan psychologists, Jennifer Crocker and Amy Canevello, “Nothing makes you more proud of yourself than knowing that you are making a positive difference in the lives of other people.”
Operation Warm’s Director of Organization & Individual Development & Rotary, Rich Lalley, spends much of his free time working to increase the impact of his Rotary club. He says giving, “definitely becomes addictive. I go to yoga class and the teacher will tell us to get rid of all the negativity in our lives and I think, ‘Well, I don’t have any!’”
The social aspects of giving and volunteering can ward off loneliness and depression. Volunteering can provide purpose and be a great motivator for people to change their perspective on the world and gain a more positive outlook while helping others.
Helping others actually makes us happy. When we help someone it triggers a release of oxytocin (a chemical that boosts our mood) and also counteracts the effects of cortisol (the dreaded stress hormone). Interestingly, the higher your levels of oxytocin, the more you want to help others. When oxytocin is boosted, so are serotonin and dopamine. Ultimately, doing good is actually good for your mood!
6. Longer Life
Giving and volunteering can help you live a longer life. According to a study done at the University of Buffalo, “helping others reduced mortality specifically by buffering the association between stress and mortality.”
Learn how you can volunteer to help children in your community receive a gift of warmth, confidence, and hope!