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Healthy You

Feel Good: The Benefits of Volunteering

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 7:16 AM

With the cold weather and lack of sunshine, this time of year can bring on the blues. One way to beat the winter blues is to donate your time and services. Volunteering is a great way to spend some quality family time together, to refocus on the simple pleasures in life and a great way to boost your health – both mental and physical.

Ying Hensel, MD, Internal Medicine at NorthShore, breaks down how volunteering not only does good for the community, but for your health as well:

  • Sense of purpose. Volunteers have a sense of purpose when they donate their time or skills. This is more prevalent in older adults who are experiencing the loss of major role identities, such as wage-earner or parent.
  • Feeling accomplished. After volunteering, it has been found that volunteers feel a sense of individual gains and accomplishment. This boosts self-esteem by having a sense of pride in identity.
  • Happy hormones. Performing volunteer acts and services lessens depression rates in people who volunteer. It also reduces stress.
  • Life satisfaction. Volunteering has been found to give people more satisfaction than working for pay.
  • Lower blood pressure. Adults over the age of 50 who volunteer benefit from lower blood pressure. High blood pressure has been found to contribute to heart disease, stroke and premature death.
  • Longer life. It has been found that volunteers tend to have a longer lifespan than those who do not volunteer due to lower blood pressure, lower depression rates and a sense of purpose.
  • Good workout. If you do physical volunteer work it is a great way to get in physical activity, which has many other benefits attached to it. For volunteering such as tutoring, you are working out your mental health and keeping your brain function sharp!

Does volunteering sound like something you are interested in? Learn more on how you can volunteer at NorthShore.