A lot of people choose to volunteer this time of year. Studies show it’s not just good for others but for your own health, as well.
“Studies have indicated that volunteering is great for your mental health. It has been shown to decrease stress levels, depression, anxiety, and boost your overall health and satisfaction with life,” said Dr. Susan Albers, a psychologist for Cleveland Clinic.
Albers says when you help other people, it activates the reward center in your brain and releases serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. That’s why people often feel better after volunteering.
Some other benefits include meeting new people, getting some physical activity, and developing a deeper sense of purpose and meaning. It may also give you a new perspective on life.
Albers says volunteering doesn’t always have to be something major. You can do simple gestures like donating food, taking out someone’s trash, or shoveling an elderly person’s driveway. Parents can even get their kids involved.
“You can get your entire family involved in volunteering. It is great to role model to children that this is a great way to boost your mental health. It’s free. It’s an activity that everyone can do. It doesn’t require a lot of skill or time,” said Albers.
Albers reminds people to consider the time commitment required before signing up for volunteering. She also suggests picking something that is meaningful to you.