Seven Health Benefits of Volunteering

Research has shown that people who volunteer often live longer - Allen Klein

1) Reduces Stress
Whether we are working with adults, children or pets, a meaningful connection can take our mind off our worries when we put our attention on someone or something else. The results are improved mood and less stress.

2) Combats Depression
Volunteering can keep the mind distracted from a destructive habit like negative thinking or being overly critical (especially of oneself). It can also increase motivation by providing a sense of accomplishment.

3) Prevents Feelings of Isolation
While volunteering, we can also make new friends growing our social network and possibly even our professional one. Picking an activity that we enjoy gives us a higher chance of meeting people who share our values, worldview and interests. It’s possible to create friendships that last long after the volunteering ends.

4) Increases Confidence
Some volunteering activities require learning new skills. Gaining a new ability can provide mental stimulation that we would otherwise not experience. Also, in growing our skill set to make a difference for others, we can gain a sense of pride and identity, which can lead to having a more positive view of oneself.

5) Gives a Sense of Purpose and Meaning
Regardless of our age, volunteering can give meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in different ways. Whether it’s with seniors, children, animals or due to a natural disaster, the willingness to do what’s needed in the moment can put things in perspective while expanding our minds, hearts and worldview.

6) Ignites Passion
Volunteering is also a fun way to explore different interests or even perhaps work alongside a master. It can be an energizing escape from your daily routine. Opportunities abound. From walking dogs for an animal shelter to teaching youth soccer. From sorting and pricing donations at a thrift shop to reading to children or seniors in the hospital.

7) Makes You Happy
Research shows that feel good hormones and brain activity spike during volunteer activities. Humans are designed to be in community, serving one another. Volunteering makes the world a better place.

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Contact Suzanne Philen 206.275.7753 at Mercer Island Thrift Shop for more information about volunteering