eHealth, Lifestyle, Mental Health , , , ,

Volunteering to improve health

A volunteer has the power to improve the community, while volunteering has the ability to improve the volunteer. A recent article in Gazette Review highlights four common health benefits of volunteering: (1) decreases depression, (2) helps you stay active, (3) makes you feel internally satisfied, and (4) decreases anxiety.

Just like exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, it is never too late to start volunteering to enhance your health. In fact, September is a great time to volunteer–September 11th, next Friday, is a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Organizations, companies, and individuals all over the nation will be participating in various activities to honor those who were directly affected by the attacks, but also thank the many emergency responders and volunteers who emerged as examples of exemplary citizens.

9605580633_95c23a2ffeSome reasons people may have for not volunteering are: not knowing where to volunteer, not thinking they have any valuable skills to contribute, or not having time. However, online resources and websites make finding and signing up for volunteering easy. Locally, ActivateGood.org provides a search tool for residents of the Greater Triangle Area to filter volunteer opportunities by location, date, cause, and skills. AllForGood.org is a national example of a similar website. Both provide potential volunteers with the resources they need to get involved and the ability to sign up from the website. These web-based platforms allow users to easily connect with non-profits, schools, and other community organizations in need, thus reducing some of the barriers listed above: people now know who needs volunteers and where to go, people understand that their skills or abilities are needed, and people can specify times they are willing or able to volunteer.

So, if you haven’t already made plans to volunteer this Friday, consider using ActivateGood.org or AllForGood.org to do your part, and simultaneously improve your personal health.

  • dpuglia37

    As an AmeriCorps Alum, service is something that I'm really passionate about and so I'm happy you chose to highlight its lesser known benefits.
    In addition to the factors you listed as possible deterrents to volunteering, I think that many people also have a preconceived notion of what service is (i.e. building houses, serving meals at a soup kitchen, etc.) and feel that these activities don't fit their interests. I think it's important to recognize that every area of interest has potential volunteer opportunities. I think that volunteers can give the most and get the most out of activities that they are truly passionate about.