It feels good to do good—to offer your time, skills, and effort for a cause you believe in or a person in need. It also turns out that volunteering truly is good for you, and there’s even research to prove it. Healthcare company UnitedHealth Group’s 2013 Health and Volunteering Study, “Doing Good Is Good for You,” outlines the benefits of volunteering.
According to the study, people who volunteer feel better overall than those who don’t volunteer. The majority—76 percent—say that helping others has improved their physical health, and even more—78 percent—say that it has lowered their stress level.
Volunteering helps give people a sense of purpose within their communities and a deeper connection to the people around them, which we know can help boost emotional well-being and curb feelings of isolation. It also appears that, in terms of health, you are in good company when you join a volunteer effort: volunteers tend to be well informed about healthcare choices and management.
Volunteering can also benefit you in the workplace. Because volunteering can improve overall health and well-being, you may feel happier and healthier and become more productive at your job. Volunteers also often pick up skills that they can use in the workplace.
The next time you need a pick-me-up, consider how you can get involved to help others. By doing good for someone else, you’ll likely boost your own overall health and well-being.
Doing Good Is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study. United Health Group website. Available at http://www.unitedhealthgroup. com/~/media/UHG/PDF/2013/UNH-Health-Volunteering-Study.ashx. Accessed October 3, 2014.