Did you know volunteering has many health benefits? Not only are you helping someone or a cause in need you are also receiving as much as you are giving. Studies show volunteering improves the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces chronic pain, lowers levels of depression, decreases risk of heart disease and increase longevity by up to 10 years! That’s quite a list! Read more here. https://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/helping-people-changing-lives-the-6-health-benefits-of-volunteering
Again, why would I not do this? This was another mental health/coping skill I was determined to work on. For years, I did some volunteering. I was very active in my children’s schools, with PTA and in the classroom and I would donate clothes and food to various organizations. But I never volunteered for something I was truly passionate about. Obviously, I cared about my children’s school, but I needed to do more. This month’s resolution was:
Do for Others
My Quotation: “Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person”
Simply volunteer, but in a BIG way. Later in my journey I work through how I came upon a lot of the groups I’m involved in now and how that became a HUGE part of my life. I will explain that more later. But at the time of my Happiness Project I immediately thought of working with seniors in some way. I had met quite a few seniors in my time at the exercise classes I was attending. They are the most caring, honest people I had ever met. I loved them!! So, I researched some opportunities within my county and found a meal delivery service for seniors that cannot get out to a senior center for lunch. I signed up to deliver meals once a month to start. This turned out to be just what I needed. Volunteering is another stress reliever. I was still in quite a bit of pain at this time and driving was uncomfortable. But I put it aside when I was delivering. I loved meeting all the seniors and having a little chat with them about their day. And I was being USEFUL. They were helping me and didn’t know it. Volunteering has come to mean so much more to me now. I have a greater awareness of myself and my purpose. At the time, this was just the beginning. I was thrilled to be doing anything other than focusing on my body and pain.
Volunteering can be contagious too I think. Shortly after I started, my Dad then began delivering meals as well and then my mom joined the Red Cross and started working blood drives. All positive effects, on me, the people I was helping and in my immediate family. Looking outside myself and my own problems is huge. When you are volunteering, you are distracted and you thinking of others. The other benefit for me was the social interaction. I had interaction now, more than the year before, but I knew I needed more. This filled that need as well. Social connection is another indicator of longevity. We are learning now that low social connection can be as detrimental on our health as smoking or being obese! Volunteering gets you out into the world for the benefit of all.
Have you thought about volunteering more? Try the following;
Research your local government website for opportunities
Think about what you are interested in and research from there.
Are there opportunities at your church? Or school?
I’d love to hear about how you are volunteering! Please comment below! Thanks for being here!