There are several health benefits of volunteering. Not only are you helping others by giving back but you are also improving your health. Several studies have shown that volunteering helps people donate their time to a cause they care about, feel socially connected, which can help with loneliness and depression. Not only does volunteering help out with mental health, but also with physical health.
In a study published in the journal Psychology and Aging, adults over age 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. While, it is impossible for the study to prove that it was the volunteering that was directly responsible for the lower blood pressure, researchers are trying to identify the specific characteristics of volunteering that provide the greatest benefit. In the Carnegie Mellon study, 200 hours of volunteering per year correlated to lower blood pressure.
Another study published in the study Health Psychology, found that participants who volunteered with some regularity lived longer, but only if their intentions were truly altruistic. Meaning that they actually had to be invested in helping other, not just to make themselves feel better.
So, if any of these studies are any indication, serving others is essence of good mental and physical health. Find something you enjoy doing and go out and serve others – it’s good for you and your community!
College of Health Science