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The Surprising Benefits of Volunteering

Wanting to help others? There may be more benefits to volunteering than you realize. Not only will you help someone else, you’ll benefit your own life as well.

Mom and child planting a tree, benefits of volunteering

We lead such busy lives these days that even thinking about volunteering can make our stress levels rise. But volunteering actually might be just the right medicine for a hectic life.

Related: Make Someone's Day with a Random Act of Kindness

Stress Relief

One of the many benefits of volunteering is that it can help ease stress. Connecting with other people in a meaningful way can provide a profound sense of pleasure that boosts our physical and psychological well-being.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, research shows that people who volunteer live longer—and with less disability and depression—than those who don't.

Work Experience

Volunteering also can offer more material benefits. For example, it gives you the chance to try out a whole new career without having to leave your current job. Are you interested in working in healthcare? Check out volunteer opportunities at a hospital or a nursing home. You can talk to the people who work there. You can gain some experience in the field. And you'll have made valuable contacts if you decide to switch careers.

Related: Ways to Spread Hope in the World

Or maybe you're wondering if you should go back to school and get a degree in social work. Volunteering at a women's shelter or at a church working with homeless teens could help you decide if that's the right career path for you.

Keep in mind that volunteering doesn't have to involve a long-term commitment or take up a large amount of time. Even helping out a little bit can make a difference in your life and in the lives of those in need.

 

SelectHealth may link to other websites for your convenience. SelectHealth does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the SelectHealth site, unless explicitly stated.

The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

Additional sources: HelpGuide; Mental Health America

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SelectHealth Staff