When you make a decision to dedicate yourself to a cause i.e. helping animals, environment, cancer, it widens your world. It helps you expand your perspective, your mind open up to bigger possibilities and creates a greater meaning in your life. Being a volunteer in whatever capacity reminds you of the larger world we live in and has many health benefits too. By enjoying your time spent in service to others, you are more likely to feel a sense of meaning and appreciation, both given and received, providing a stress-reducing effect. Becoming a volunteer not only helps the cause it helps you too. Research shows that those who volunteer, it gives them a greater purpose in life. It also releases dopamine referred to as the “helpers high” which lowers levels of stress and depression. It also helps you connect to others socially, providing a sense of community with other volunteers and to those who you are helping.
In a report called, The Health Benefits of Volunteering, research shows there is an established strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer. They also report greater life satisfaction and better physical health than do non-volunteers, and their life satisfaction and physical health improves at a greater rate as a result of volunteering.
Today, take time to think about what is important to you, who do you want to help, to spend your time, energy and dollars to make a difference. Remember it’s not only good for the cause, it’s good for your well-being too.
Activity: Take action to volunteer or give back in some way. Start small by supporting a local small business to help them grow, or cause that has personal meaning to you like cancer research, no kid hungry, water well in Africa, black lives matter or save a penny a day in a jar and donate after 3 or 6 months (this is great for kids too).