People want to be healthy. They always have, and they always will. But being healthy isn’t just about eating right, or exercising to be fit. There are other ways to sustain good health—physical and mental. According to The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research, there is a strong connection between good health and volunteering, so much that those who volunteer, in comparison with those who don’t, have lower rates of mortality and depression. There have also been several studies showing that age groups are affected differently by volunteering. Older volunteers, for example, are more likely to have greater benefits from volunteering either because they are faced with a higher incidence of illnesses or simply because their mental and social activity has given them a sense of purpose during a time when their roles in society require less of them.
How much time do you reserve for volunteer purposes annually? According to the studies presented in the above report, an individual who dedicates at least 100 hours of their time to volunteer work has higher health benefits than the individual who dedicates less. Specialized surveys have been conducted to evaluate the benefits of volunteering by measuring the benefits of the volunteer activities and the impact those activities have on the community. What the surveys revealed was that those who volunteered attained greater health benefits than those who were the recipients of the support given through the activities.
Specifics about your Mental Health and Physical Well-Being
As I mentioned before, volunteering has a number of positive effects—specifically, volunteering can impact your psychological state in an effective manner. Some psychological factors could be a sense of accomplishment and a sense of purpose. Volunteering also has its social benefits. Because volunteering usually requires human interaction, there is always a chance for social networking, which can help shield stress and reduce the risk of disease. All of these positive social psychological factors are also directly correlated to your physical well-being and can decrease the chances of poor health conditions.
Social integration theory, which includes volunteering, social psychological factors, and social networks, is described as “the extent to which an individual participates in a broad range of social relationships.” (Cohen, Underwood, & Gottlieb, 2000) According to Social Support Measurement and Intervention: A Guide for Health and Social Scientists, having a sense of purpose and satisfaction in your life reduces the chances for illness, risk for disease, and depression; and those who are more socially integrated in life live longer.
Just remember: Those who give of themselves also receive.
According to what I have stated, do you agree with my suggested points? Do you believe that volunteering leads to health benefits or is a healthy individual more likely to volunteer due to their healthy state? Share your thoughts below!
Have a great, and HEALTHY, day!