Giving Back Feels Good

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We’ve heard that it is better to give than receive, but do you know giving has been proven to actually make you feel good?

In a Gallup survey on volunteering, 52% of the volunteers give because they like doing something useful and helping others. Thirty-eight percent felt better about themselves when they did volunteer work.

In a Canadian study, 85% of Ontario volunteers rated their health as “good” compared to 79% of non-volunteers. Only 2% of the volunteers reported “poor” health. That’s one-third the amount of non-volunteers who reported the same health status.

Other studies show a positive relationship between volunteering and increased self-esteem, with volunteers reporting both greater personal empowerment and better health. Is this a release of endorphins? Researchers think so. And the release of endorphins improves nervous and immune system functions.

Many people, such as I, report a “high” from volunteering, similar to the good feelings that come from exercise. Others state volunteering helps fight depression. Helping others certainly takes one’s mind of one’s problems and enables one to see a bigger picture. Once you see what a difference you can make to someone’s life, your own problems seem smaller and more manageable.

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