Mahatma Gandhi is quoted as saying, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Volunteering is a selfless act that involves giving one's time and energy to help others or a cause they believe in. While it is often thought of as a way to benefit others, having a purpose outside yourself is good not only for your community, it’s also good for your mental health, physical health, and can even increase your life expectancy.
Here are the top five benefits of volunteering:
- Improved mental health: Volunteering has been shown to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety. It can provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment, as well as help individuals feel more connected to their community.
- Physical health benefits: Volunteering can improve cardiovascular health, as it often involves physical activity and it has been shown to improve sleep quality. It has also been linked to a lower risk of developing high blood pressure and a stronger immune system.
- Increased social connections: Volunteering can help individuals build and strengthen social connections, which are important for overall well-being. It can provide opportunities to meet new people and form meaningful relationships with others with similar interests and values.
- Improved cognitive function: Volunteering has been linked to improved cognitive function, including increased memory and problem-solving skills. It can also help individuals stay mentally active and engaged, which can help prevent cognitive decline in older adults.
- Increased longevity: Studies have shown that individuals who volunteer regularly may have a longer life expectancy. This may be due to the combination of physical, mental, and social benefits that volunteering provides.
Ancient wisdom and modern science seem to agree: Being part of something larger might be one of the best things we can do, both for others and ourselves.
Visit our website at www.UnitedWayMartin.org/volunteer to get started volunteering for a cause you are passionate about.