Everyday Health reports that most of us know that if we eat our fruit and veggies, exercise often, and avoid smoking, we have a better chance of living longer and healthier lives. But you may not know that regularly giving to others should perhaps be added to that healthy checklist. Volunteering is associated with lower depression, increased well-being, and a 22 percent reduction in the risk of dying. Wow! That’s impressive! With those benefits there should be no shortage of volunteers.
Studies show that for those who are 55 or older these benefits are particularly remarkable. Perhaps those of us in that age group are often retired or experiencing the “empty nest” syndrome. We can begin to doubt our self worth and question our purpose, slipping into a habit of putting entirely too much focus on self. Boooring, tiresome (and unhealthy) for ourselves and for those around us!
Research indicates that benefits are optimized when you volunteer in a minimum of two endeavors. There are so many opportunities that finding two places in which to serve should be quite easy: in schools, in programs that serve the needy, in arts organizations, in your church, in neighborhood projects or clubs. The list goes on and on. What are your interests or passions? Your time and your talent can make a real difference in the life of an individual and in the life of your community.
If you want to live a longer, happier, and healthier life, take all the usual precautions and then … take the challenge. Get out there and share your time with those who need it. Where do I sign up?