We all know that volunteering leaves a lasting impact on the lives we touch. But did you know it can also benefit your own health? Studies have shown that volunteering helps people feel more socially connected, helping ward off loneliness and depression.
When you help other people, the reward center in your brain is activated. Your body releases serotonin, dopamine and endorphins — it's why you feel so great after volunteering. You also have the opportunity to meet new people, get some physical activity in, and reduce your stress levels.
Volunteering can also develop your sense of purpose, and give you a deep sense of happiness — both immediately and for the long run. Check out all of the ways volunteering can benefit your health, body, and mind.
Volunteering improves your physical and mental health
Volunteering keeps your body moving and your mind active at the same time. It especially has an incredible impact on mental health. Studies show that 76% of people who volunteer say that volunteering has made them feel healthier. And research published by Citizens Advice Bureau indicates that volunteering boosts self-esteem, employability, and mental health. Because of this, volunteering has been linked to lower rates of depression and anxiety.
It can also reduce your stress levels. Volunteering produces positive feelings due to the release of dopamine. When you volunteer, you'll often feel a sense of meaning and appreciation — both given and received — which can help alleviate stress. When you're less stressed, you decrease the risk of physical and mental health problems, like heart disease, stroke, and general illness. In addition, volunteering has been linked with helping people live longer.
It provides a sense of purpose
Volunteering can boost your confidence and self-esteem, and give you overall life satisfaction. When you volunteer, you're doing good for others and helping out your community, which naturally provides a sense of fulfillment.
Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals. In fact, 96% of volunteers say that volunteering enriches their sense of purpose.
Enables you to nurture new and current relationships
Volunteering increases your social interaction and helps you build a support system based on common interests with others. And one of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen current relationships is to participate in an activity. Dedicating time as a volunteer will help you expand your social network and brush up on your social skills.
We hope you benefitted from learning more about the connection between volunteering and your health. At OnSite Wellness, health and wellness is our specialty.
Incorporating a wellness program at your workplace can have massive benefits for your employees in managing their health. Contact us to learn more!