For most people, volunteering is viewed as a ‘Good Samaritan’ façade that people add on their CV, perhaps to gain points when applying for a new job opening. Heck, it’s no wonder these days most volunteer centers have so-called ‘volunteers’ who only show up for one month, and bounce the minute they collect their certificate of recognition!
Despite the countless charades involved in volunteer work, volunteering can actually be beneficial for one’s long-term health. Yep, that’s right. But why is this the case?
The Science behind it
It is generally believed that assisting others brings a sense of warmness and relaxation, but such an experience moves beyond just the feelings of kindness and gratitude.
According to recent studies carried out, it has been discovered that helping others actually offers innumerable health benefits. Not only do this benefits manifest themselves in the mental state, but also do so in the physical by reducing one’s blood pressure and minimizing the side-effects of depression. So that means helping others in the long run, is beneficial to helping oneself!
However, because the correlation of the two principles is still in the infancy stage, the underlying factors have not yet been determined.
Though there are a few clues scientists have managed to point out. For example, a research study carried out showed that oxytocin (a neurotransmitter that maintains social behavior and interactions) spiked in people who would regularly volunteer. Thus, assisting them to handle stress-related events much easier.
A fresh perspective
That’s because when one volunteers, it offers them a fresh perspective on their problems. A problem such as an incessant parent doesn’t seem as miserable as sleeping on the streets and having nothing to eat! That’s one good example
Normally, when one completes a volunteering session, they tend to have more relaxed muscles, their breathing is not as rapid, and their mind isn’t racing back and forth thinking about trivial issues that they need to handle.
That being said, taking is just as important as giving (pun intended). In this case, it’s good that one accepts gifts once in a while from friends and family. Alternatively, occasionally treating oneself to great discounts with coupons from Ecouponshub.com can also do the trick!
Humans are naturally wired to help their fellows
Altruism is beneficial, and just by going to the homeless center to donate clothes can prove more than basic exercise.
In fact, research has shown that volunteering, as well as performing random acts of kindness, have shown to light up similar reward centers in the brain associated with good food and a great sexual experience! Meaning that naturally, people are wired to do good!
There’s only one exception to this; if doing good comes with job territory. Altruism can prove extremely stressful in the aid work and healthcare industry. That’s because such environments are normally associated with events related to mental trauma such as death, mutilated body parts, rampant disease, and abject poverty. So if one’s job is helping people, that really doesn’t constitute as volunteering unless one’s body, mind, and soul is involved positively in the process.
That being said, volunteering is a low-risk, free, and simple tool anyone can use to ensure that they maintain positive mental health throughout their lives.