Now, you may be wondering what all this has to do with health and wellness. And the answer is: a lot!
According to research from a report entitled “The Health Benefits of Volunteering,” those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, lower rates of depression, and more life satisfaction. Individuals with chronic pain issues who volunteer report decreased pain and disability. Those who commit a significant amount of time to volunteering (100+ hours per year) are shown to have more positive overall health outcomes as well. Some of these benefits are especially pronounced in older volunteers, but apply to all ages regardless.
And these benefits likely extend to simple acts of giving in addition to volunteering too. One researcher states that giving and altruism are related to a better immune system, increased energy, less stress, and more joy.
And of course, the better we feel about ourselves and the less stress we perceive, the more likely we may be to make healthier choices in other aspects of our life (think about emotional eating in particular). There are also many opportunities for good acts that come in the form of fitness as well (I’ll be sharing one tomorrow), thereby helping us stick to an exercise routine and get your heart beating.
Have I convinced you yet? Let’s start helping others and improving our own mental and physical health through volunteering, donating, and giving!
So here I go sharing my first act of kindness today….drumroll please….donating my hair! I’ve been growing it out for about a year now and couldn’t wait to finally get it long enough to make a donation.
The before shot: