Have you ever experienced that “helper’s high” after helping someone out or doing a good deed? You know, that feeling similar to a great workout or a long hug? I sure do every time I read to a young student with Everybody Wins! through the SERV Program for state employees. I’m fortunate that my employer values and encourages employees to volunteer their time to the community. The many other benefits of volunteering are what keep me going back.
Whether you’re driving someone to the doctor, cleaning up a park, or organizing to help people keep their homes, your role as a volunteer can give you a sense of pride and identity. Volunteering boosts self-confidence and self-esteem, and can even combat depression. Giving back to your community increases your sense of purpose in life while lowering stress levels. Volunteering is particularly beneficial for people with mild to moderate depression, older adults, and those with chronic diseases and substance abuse problems. Those who give back are less likely to feel hopeless and lonely than people who do not volunteer because it increases opportunities to build social connections and networks.The bottom line is that you’ll feel good about yourself because you’re making a positive impact in your community.
“If only I had the time…” you might be saying. Most of us have very busy schedules. However, we make time for what we think is important. Something to think about that might make the idea of volunteering more feasible is to choose a cause (e.g., animal rights, the environment), or a population (e.g., teenagers, immigrants) that you’re passionate about. This way, you’re more likely to want to put your energy towards your passions, and feel that you’re making a significant contribution.
Volunteering can take many forms, from direct service, community organizing, and serving on boards, to supporting your friends and family in their efforts to improve the community. Volunteering has so many benefits to you, your family, and your neighborhood that perhaps in the future we’ll see more physicians writing prescriptions for volunteering!
If you already volunteer, thank you! If not, you can find a volunteer opportunity near you here and get started making a difference today, both for the community and for yourself.
Weekly Flu Report, November 21, 2014 posted on Nov 21
This week’s flu report indicates that rates of flu-like illness remained relatively stable as compared to last week’s numbers. It’s safe to say that we’ll see these rates rise in the coming weeks and months – and with the holiday season approaching, now’s a great time …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, November 21, 2014
The Holidays Are Fast Approaching! posted on Nov 18
The holiday season brings a lot of fun, but can be stressful at times. Try focusing on seeing things through your child’s eyes. Chances are the traditions and memories you make are what children will grow up to remember, not the gifts or fancy meals. …Continue Reading The Holidays Are Fast Approaching!
Weekly Flu Report, November 14, 2014 posted on Nov 17
The latest weekly flu report shows an increase in the rate of flu-like illness in Massachusetts over the past seven days. This is to be expected at this time of year in New England, and it’s a great reminder that if you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, there …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, November 14, 2014