The Corporation for National & Community Service reports those who volunteer live longer, healthier lives. Here are some mental, physical, and social benefits that giving back gives to you:
- Staying active: Many volunteer opportunities get you up and moving. In our own community for example, Playworks is an international charity that encourages kids to be more active during the school day. When you volunteer for Playworks, you participate in sports and other activities with the students.
- Decreasing risk of depression: Volunteering and interacting with others are known to bestow a sense of fulfillment or “helper’s high,” a term used to describe the rush of dopamine to your brain in response to positive experiences. In addition to boosting your mood, volunteering helps to build social connections with others who share your interests.
- Feeling a sense of purpose: Feeling gratitude from those you’ve helped can give you a stronger sense of meaning in your life. This rings especially true for older adults who may no longer be raising children or financially supporting the family. For older adults, less physically-demanding volunteer opportunities might include helping a local food bank, such as Second Harvest Food Bank, an organization that focuses on educating the community about nutrition, resources, health, and hunger.
- Increasing your brain activity: Interacting with people, using your body, and activating problem-solving skills fire up connections in your brain. While volunteering for El Camino Hospital, you can socialize with other volunteers, provide assistance to patients and their loved ones, provide much-needed administrative support, and much more.
- Provide funding for local health programs and services: If you don’t have time to give, but would still like to give back, consider a donation to a charitable organization such as the American Red Cross or a local charity like the El Camino Hospital Foundation. 100% of your donation will go to people in need.
This holiday season, consider the gift of volunteering—for your community and your health.
See more volunteer opportunities in the Silicon Valley area.