1.Helping is a Natural High
According to a 2013 United Health Group study people who volunteer say they feel better physically, mentally and emotionally. Volunteering is also shown to help people manage and lower stress levels. The empathy that people show while volunteering increases Oxytocin, a neurochemical associated with trust and feelings of closeness, which in turn lowers the cortisol levels and reduces stress.
2.Volunteers Have Lower Mortality Risk
Studies show that volunteering is associated with a 24% lower mortality risk. People who volunteer have a sense of purpose and feel more connected to their community. The link seems to be that caring for others has a direct positive relationship to the care we take of ourselves.
3.Altruistic People Have a Healthier Heart
Besides the obvious connection to feeling good while doing good, an article in Web MD suggests that positive lifestyle factors, like volunteering, reduces risk of high blood pressure, which is a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease. While it’s not a direct cause/effect relationship, it’s generally believed that the social connection of volunteering promotes healthy aging.
If you are interested in feeling good and giving back, here are some resources that you can contact to get involved:
- Volunteer Fairfax matches the skills and interests of volunteers and donors to the needs of local nonprofit organizations, helping to build a better community through service.
- The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce has many members who are non-profit organizations or involved in volunteer work.
Posted by: Wendy Lemieux, Fairfax County Office of Public Private Partnerships
Remember, the Chamber has plenty of resources that can help you on your journey to better health – click here to learn more about the Healthy Workplaces Initiative.