If you have ever volunteered your time to a cause you care about, you know that it makes you feel good. But did you know that volunteering has some real health benefits in addition to pure altruistic enjoyment?
According to this article, there are at least four health impacts volunteering has on us do-gooders:
"A 2013 review of 40 international studies suggests that volunteering can add years to your life -- with some evidence pointing to a 22 percent reduction in mortality. How much time must you spare? A separate study found that seniors who gave 100 hours or more annually were 28 percent less likely to die from any cause than their less-philanthropic counterparts."
"When you [volunteer], the reward center of your brain pumps out the mood-elevating neurotransmitter dopamine, creating what researchers call a helper's high. In fact, one study found that people who completed five small acts of kindness (like helping a friend, visiting a relative, or writing a thank-you note) one day a week for six weeks experienced a significant boost in overall feelings of well-being."
Better Pain Management:
"When chronic-pain sufferers helped others with the same ailment, they reported feeling less discomfort, according to a study in Pain Management Nursing. On a scale of 0 to 10, people's average pain ratings dropped from nearly a 6 to below 4 after volunteer training and six months of leading discussion groups for pain sufferers or making weekly calls to check in on patients. "
Lower Blood Pressure:
"A 2013 study in the journal of Psychology and Aging revealed that adults over the age of 50 who reported volunteering at least 200 hours in the past year (roughly four hours per week) were 40 percent less likely than nonvolunteers to have developed hypertension four years later."
Thinking about where you can volunteer yet? We are too. Let us know on Twitter where you've volunteered recently or where you plan on serving next at @pointapp!
To healthy lives,