When we think about volunteering or charitable giving, it’s natural to focus on the benefit to recipients. Whether walking dogs at the Humane Society or kicking in money for hurricane relief, the benefit to the canines and the storm victims is obvious. What’s less obvious, but increasingly acknowledged, is that selfless giving actually confers tangible benefits on the giver.
If you’ve ever volunteered or donated money, you’re probably familiar with a very pleasant warm-and-fuzzy feeling of doing good. As the mind-body connection is increasingly validated, it’s no surprise that feeling good does your body good. Studies support this: there are measurable physical benefits to giving.
According to Carnegie Mellon University:
- Adults who perform at least 200 hours of volunteer work are 40% less likely to develop hypertension, one of America’s leading causes of death.
According to JAMA Pediatrics
- Inner-city tenth graders who volunteered for ten weeks were compared with those who did not. Students who volunteered had decreased cholesterol, BMI, and inflammation. Further, “the volunteers who reported the greatest increases in empathy, altruistic behavior and mental health were the ones who also saw the greatest improvements in their cardiovascular health,” says study authorHannah Schreier, PhD.
According to VolunteerMatch:
- More than 68% of those who volunteered in the past year report that volunteering made them feel physically healthier.
- 29% of volunteers who suffer from a chronic condition say that volunteering has helped them manage their chronic illness.
- 73% of volunteers feel that volunteering lowered their stress levels.
According to the Corporation for National Community Service:
- “A strong relationship between volunteering and health [has been established]: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.“
We may be inclined to defer volunteering or donating until some abstract future time when we have plenty of time or money. Reconsider! Research shows that when we give, we feel a greater sense of abundance. In the Harvard Business Review, Wharton professor Cassie Mogilner writes, “the results show that giving your time to others can make you feel more ‘time affluent’ and less time-constrained than wasting your time, spending it on yourself, or even getting a windfall of free time.”
At Life Wellness Center, we believe in giving back. During the month of November we’re accepting food donations for 360 Communities. This excellent nonprofit makes a difference in the lives of 18,000 people annually with a variety of programs, including a food pantry. Their five most wanted categories are: rice and pasta; canned fruits and vegetables; canned fish and meat; cooking and baking; peanut butter.
Go to https://www.360communities.org/self-sufficiency/food-shelf-needs/ for more info, and thanks for your support! #LWCgives