While philanthropy offers any number of benefits and is something we should all be participating in some way, there are clear health benefits for a volunteer. People who are looking to improve their health may want to consider participating in philanthropy. Numerous research studies show that those who give away part of their time, money, and processions enjoy better overall health than their counterparts who do not help others.
Researchers found that those who gave away 100 hours of their time annually enjoyed a longer lifespan than those who did not volunteer any hours. The research also suggests that those who divide their volunteer hours over the span of an entire year enjoy the most benefits. While many people wait until they are retired to volunteer, research suggests that volunteering at any age may increase a person’s lifespan. It might seem as though you have no time in your schedule, but there’s always ways you can find time to volunteer.
Regardless of the volunteer activity, research shows that volunteering increases dopamine in the bloodstream. The release of this hormone makes people feel happier. While it is often associated with a runner’s high, research shows that givers can experience a “giver’s high.” The act of kindness does not even have to be very big to enjoy this benefit, so go ahead and give a little to a worthwhile cause, buy a meal for someone in a restaurant, or even open the door for someone who is having a hard time.
Two different research studies suggest that people dealing with chronic health conditions such as multiple sclerosis or chronic pain syndrome feel better when they are helping others with the same condition. Both studies had volunteers with the disease call others with the same disease to offer support and suggestions. At the end of a month, those who had reached out to others self-reported that their pain levels had lowered during the month even if they just made a telephone call.
Improved blood pressure levels
Research also shows that volunteering just four hours a week helps to lower blood pressure. Furthermore, volunteers still had lower blood pressure four years after they stopped volunteering. Researchers suggest that this may be especially true for people who have small social networks because volunteering allows them to meet new people.
The health benefits of volunteering are numerous. It does not require people to give away many hours, things, or money to see the benefits of philanthropy. The benefits can even last for many years after a person stops volunteering.