VOLUNTEERING

Volunteer For Your Own Health

Regardless of your circumstance, regardless of your age—yes-- even if you are over 50 and perhaps even feeling depressed yourself, it may be that doing volunteer work can be a great antidote for you[i].

Recent studies show us that not only is volunteering good for your brain!

For the cognitive functioning of your brain, both with regard to planning and organizing but also with regard to delaying or reversing decline in brain functioning.  

 

As well, volunteering is good for your heart.[ii] 
Volunteering is associated with “better mental and physical outcomes” says, Eric Kim, of Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and that, volunteers were more likely to avail themselves of health services such as flu shots and cholesterol checks.  The article quotes a larger study (1992) demonstrating that people, who volunteered at least 200 hours a year on a regular basis, were less likely to develop high blood pressure over a four year period than those who did not volunteer. And the study indicated that volunteers had increased physical activity and psychological well-being.

Another older study indicated that volunteers were more active with walking, had less depression and less anger, more sense of direction and a goal to strive for.  Because negative emotions-- stress, depression and anger have negative impacts on the body with regard to heart disease, volunteers who may have optimism and satisfaction, and perhaps a sense of purpose—which is even more significantly correlated to better cardiovascular health, are a lower risk of a cardiovascular event and dying from any cause than those with a lower sense of purpose.        

[iii]Alot more has been studied about volunteering in older adults and it shows that volunteering also leads to self-confidence and sense of purpose. Increases support systems which also lower depression, increases the release of dopamine in the brain so you are happier and can thus increase longevity!

Our friend Jerry, who lost his wife, took an expansive step and volunteered this week!

A friend of someone on our Team who recently lost a loved one, volunteered at the NYC Marathon.

It took something for this to occur-for Jerry to stand with others while grieving, to be helpful to the runners and their condition of pain or suffering, to see the strength within them.

To see in them a commitment--their word to run this many miles 26.2-even when it was hot, cold, wet or when they did not feel well or did not want to. 

Jerry got a chance to help others.

He had a chance to hold the crowd back so that the runners could have space.

To give directions to people so they could reunite with their loved ones. To hug them if they needed that, to get them water, to walk them to where they needed to be and even to speak to them in broken Spanish so they felt they were home. 

His act of volunteering contributed to him much more than he could have ever given back including:

  • Well-being
  • Confidence
  • Feeling moved and inspired by others
  • Connecting with others both immediately and
  • Growing his social network based on new friendships he made there
  • Increased self-esteem.

The research bears this out.  This is what occurs for people who volunteer!

Create your own volunteer project!

Today a friend of our Team called about her mother who lost her husband.

Her mother is now depressed.  

Our Team recommended that she have her mother look at what her husband stood for in life!

Then, create a project about his legacy!

This person has grandchildren too who can participate too and she has means to really do good in the world using her husbands’ contributions and legacy as something to live on now that he is gone.  So support your loved ones who have lost someone with personal volunteering!

Any type of volunteering makes a difference.

 

We can choose.

Choose to win!   

Click for news and alerts  from theTeam on behalf of Robin Quivers 

 

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Topics: womens health, senior health, volunteering, mens health, teen's health, inspiration

Volunteering Is Healthy!

 

As humans there are things we are passionate about and things that really are what we stand for in life. At times we may not even be aware of these or may see obstacles in the way of what we might like to create or manifest for each of us.  Last night someone on the Team was speaking to a baby boomer gentleman who works for the government but who also attends 200 rock concerts per year mostly of up and coming performers. When our Team member asked him if he would like to just help them each get known he said jokingly ''okay where do I sign up?"  When we are involved in what matters to us or responding to a need that speaks to us, we are in sync with who we really are, and feeling our most  alive and self expressed..

Sometimes we even know we can make a difference in one way or the other and we don't step up to do it and don't want to bother.  Then we make up excuses for not doing it. And justify it to ourselves or gather agreement. Yet, that little lie we tell ourselves leaves us feeling a bit less powerful and more diminished in the world.

One great ticket to well-being and feeling empowered is doing what you feel called to do!  

Especially where and when there is a need.

Perhaps you have seen this in your neighborhood or on a commercial-a community, a cause, a person or group or even animals that need help. 

Choosing to participate in a cause bigger than yourself

to help animals, for example---can help empower each of us!  

Now for some research!

A study of 3,351 adults[i] showed that Doing good is good for you too.

Volunteers say they feel physically and emotionally better than non-volunteers.

It helps manage their stress, feel a deeper connection to their communities and they are better at taking care of themselves and their own health.

Volunteers also better with chronic illness and it helps them focus on something bigger than themselves.

Volunteering can take many forms and can include, "hands on" work, skill-based work and volunteer executive leadership work such as serving on committees and boards. Volunteering to help the environment[ii] showed that volunteering created improved mood and well-being along with a much better understanding about the environment and how to help. The study was of a small sample but ten percent went on to get work in this area and 50% joined a volunteer group when this ended. This highlights that when people can give back to something that affects the world while learning about it, it can benefit the individual volunteer too.

An earlier study[iii] which focused on volunteering and mortality in people aged 65+, revealed that those who volunteered for one organization for less than 40 hours a week for a year, lived longer and provided social interaction for those seniors who lacked it. The article suggests that volunteering provides self-identity and meaningfulness which is useful to living longer.

[iv] One study found that stress did not predict the risk of death among people who helped others in the past year specifically by buffering the association between stress and mortality, but that stress did predict mortality among those who did not render help.

 

Two national studies[v] highlighted that helping behavior can buffer the effects of stress but only in those with positive views of others.

 

What has been present,[vi] is that governments have been advocating volunteerism as a way to improve well-being and decrease health inequality.

Other studies showed that volunteering had positive effects on depression, satisfaction in life and on well-being but not on physical health.  

More research and longitudinal studies are in process to look at health effects of volunteering for seniors, especially.  It is confidently thought by many that volunteer activities can produce positive physical and psychological outcomes for older people and provide multiple health impacts.(vii]

Just get out there and do it! Listen to yourself and what speaks to you for others!

We can choose!

Choose to win!

 Click for news and alerts  from theTeam on behalf of Robin Quivers 

(1)Study by Harris Interactive/United Health Group, cited by article NPQ, Study Underscores Health, Well-ness and Career Benefits of volunteering,Cuniffe 

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Topics: womens health, senior health, volunteering, mens health, Practicing Spirituality, teen health