Many recent studies that have been done on volunteer work show how it’s connected to better health. Physical effects on the body, such as lowered blood pressure can be measured and impacted through helping others.
Though some of us are introverts, humans need social connection in order to survive and thrive. Helping others not only makes you feel good about yourself, but your actions have lasting effects on those you serve, which can be just as rewarding as knowing you’re contributing to your own self-improvement.
Here’s how volunteering can be beneficial for your health:
Feeling needed and appreciated for your work can boost your confidence. Volunteering on a regular basis can give you a sense of purpose, fulfillment and accomplishment. Helping improve the lives of others through direct action can help you see how valuable you are, and why community is so important. The reward of volunteering can make you feel better about yourself, and improve your self-confidence. Often, people can have trouble with social interaction, and volunteering is a great way of meeting new people and building meaningful connections.
Stress and high blood pressure is inextricably related, so lowering your stress levels can also aid in lowering your blood pressure. A study from Carnegie Mellon University showed that those over the age of 50 who volunteered regularly on average had lower blood pressure than those who did not.
Aside from the physical activity performed while volunteering, being a volunteer helps you find a newfound sense of purpose, which can help you cope with stress in your personal life. Shifting your focus from your life to others can even help you forget about your stress. Being able to focus on helping those in your community and escape the everyday hustle can also help lower stress levels. Shifting your perspective and moving your attention to another’s situation can put your own problems into perspective. Having the feeling of making a difference for someone else might also make you feel like you can make changes in your own life.
Helps with depression:
Studies show that people who feel less lonely have a lower propensity to become depressed. The empathetic response felt while spending time with others in a volunteer capacity was shown to increase happiness through the study.
Volunteering with others who all work toward the same goal increases social interaction, thus diminishing the lonely feeling that so many face from living along — especially in old age. Surrounding yourself with people who share the same interests can help you build a support system, and having a strong support system has been
Once you start volunteering, you’ll know in your heart that the scientific evidence supports the positive outlook you have after leaving the soup kitchen, animal shelter or nursing home. Whatever reasons you start your volunteering journey, you will be surprised at the impact it has on your life forever.