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12Apr

5 Reasons to Volunteer this Month

by The Center for the Healing Arts & Sciences


“If you are heading towards a breakdown, go help somebody who needs it.” – John W. Price

People typically volunteer with the main intention of helping others, however volunteering can be just as beneficial for the person serving as the person being served. Research is now starting to back up the conventional wisdom that “it is better to give than receive.”

5 Reasons to Volunteer:

5. People who volunteer experience greater health benefits.
Not only does volunteering feel good in the moment, it also has some very tangible health benefits. A study showed that adults over 70 years of age who volunteered had less of a decline in health and functioning levels as well as lower levels of depression than those who did not volunteer (Lum and Lightfoot, 2005). Additionally, those who gave social support to others had lower rates of mortality than those who did not. (Brown et al., 2005). A survey study showed a positive relationship between volunteering and better health outcomes including higher levels of health and physical functioning and lower levels of depression. 

4. Volunteering helps give people a sense of purpose.
It has been shown that people who volunteer receive a boost in self-esteem and life satisfaction as a result of feeling a sense of purpose. A study conducted illustrated that formal volunteering moderated the loss of a sense of purpose among older adults (Greenfield and Marks, 2004). In addition, volunteering has a positive effect on physical and mental health because of the personal sense of accomplishment gained from volunteering (Herzog et al., 1998).

3. Volunteering helps relieve chronic pain and stress.
Focusing on someone other than yourself is a great way to reduce stress and interrupt usual tension producing patterns. Volunteering can also help with chronic pain and depressions. People serving as peer volunteers experienced declines in pain intensity and decreased levels of disability and depression relating to their own chronic pain (Arnstein et al., 2002). 

2. Volunteering helps you gain new skills and professional experience.
In a world of constant change and innovation it is important to be a continuous learner and challenge yourself by learning new skills. The skills you learn from volunteering can aid you in your current professional position and can also help you gain other types of experience that will help you both personally and professionally. A 2005 survey conducted by Time Bank showed that 94% of employers believed volunteering would help job skills. 

1. Volunteering is Fun!
Volunteering brings people together and gives you an opportunity to connect with those in your community. Many great friendships stem from volunteering and volunteering has been linked to increased feelings of happiness. A study done by the London School of Economics found that the more people volunteered, the happier they were. 

There is a wide variety of things you can do to get involved. Check out different volunteer opportunities at Volunteer Houston.

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