Studies show that when you do for others—especially when there’s no direct benefit to you—you may actually benefit from improved mental health, physical health, life satisfaction, and social well-being. In a study of adults over age 50, those who volunteered on a regular basis had a lower risk of developing high blood pressure (an important indicator of health) than non-volunteers, as well a lower mortality. Some of these benefits are easily explained: Volunteers who donate their time feel more socially connected, and therefore experience less loneliness and the depression. You may become more physically active through your volunteering, which means more exercise and better mental and physical health. In terms of life satisfaction, volunteering can boost self-confidence and add more meaning and purpose to your life. Making others feel good and happy can make you feel that way, too!
Sources: Volunteering and health benefits in general adults: cumulative effects and forms
Motives for volunteering are associated with mortality risk in older adults.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi