Why volunteering is good for your health
Volunteering is not only good for community health—it is also great for your overall health and wellness. While contributing to a cause that you care about, you can enhance your physical, mental and emotional health.
Volunteering, according to numerous studies, can:
- Reduce blood pressure and stress levels, which, in turn, can lead to reduction in a variety of illnesses.
- Keep your mind sharp and focused by engaging the brain.
- Increase your sense of purpose and connection, which can bolster feelings of happiness and well-being.
- Enhance physical activity and health, which can boost mental health as well.
- Support social interaction and building new relationships, which are also important for long-term health and combating depression and anxiety.
Interestingly, individuals who volunteer have been found to have lower mortality rates than those who don’t in a study on aging.
The rates of volunteerism dropped significantly in 2020 and 2021 with the pandemic, however, more organizations have opened up again for both in-person and virtual volunteer opportunities. Many companies even offer paid time off for volunteering and 60 percent of hiring managers give a big thumb’s up to prospective job candidates who volunteer.
“Whether you volunteer for a neighborhood clean-up with your family a couple times a year, spend time at a food shelf each week or look into digital volunteer projects, your charitable efforts can strengthen your body, heart and mind—and your community,” said Dr. Amy Hammers.
Are you interested in volunteering but don’t know where to start? Check out this helpful resource called HandsOn Twin Cities which connects local nonprofits and volunteers and includes a searchable database of opportunities based on your availability and interests.