Life Changing

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Can Volunteering Change my Life?

Did you know that there are health benefits to volunteering?  When most of us think about volunteering we think about helping others, but research shows that you are actually helping yourself.  Consider the following list of not only physical but mental benefits you can gain when making a decision if volunteering is something for you.

  1. Reducing stress

    – We all hear about how stress can bring on numerous illnesses and the ultimate goal in most people’s lives is how I can reduce my stress.

  2. Decrease your risk of depression

    – When volunteering you are increasing your social interaction and building relationships with people. This can lead to gaining a support system of friends which has been shown to decrease the likelihood of becoming depressed.

  3. Boost your self-confidence

    – When you help others you often feel good about yourself and enjoy a sense of purpose and fulfillment. This can ultimately lead to living longer as well.  People who feel they have a purpose in life (especially the elderly) can extend their lives and make those years meaningful.

  4. “The Happy Effect”

    – This is the feel-good sensation you get when you do something to help.  Without getting too technical, it comes down to your brain releasing dopamine which plays a major part of in controlling the brain’s reward and pleasure centres.

  5. Physically & mentally active

    – When you are helping, you’re out getting exercise. Whether it’s building, gardening or going for a walk with someone, being out and about keeps your body and mind active.

  6. Lower high blood pressure

    – Studies have shown that adults over 50 years old who volunteer on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure.  In lowering your blood pressure you reduce your risks of heart disease and stroke.

The act doesn’t need to be big in order to give you happiness.  Start off with making small gestures, holding the door for someone, offering a smile or hello to a stranger or lend a hand to that mom you see struggling with a stroller.  Once you experience the gratitude you receive from the smallest acts of kindness, you can move onto bigger and better things that can lead to health improvements for yourself.  Making a choice to volunteer shouldn’t be made with the intention of solely helping yourself.  Volunteering is meant to help others who need it.  Be sure that your heart is in the right place and you are doing it for the right reasons and sure enough you will start seeing and reaping all the benefits of aiding others.