It’s good to do good, and that’s true for the doer as much as the receiver. It’s easy to understand how donating your time to a hospital or after-school program can benefit those you’re helping. What’s surprising is that volunteering may be giving you the biggest boost of all. Giving back goes full circle, and we’ve got some surprising stats to prove it.
Get What You Give
Most people want to volunteer, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about one in four Americans do. Three-quarters of the people in that equation may not realize what they’re missing. Helping others doesn’t just put you in a good mood — it can also boost your health.
So, what exactly can volunteering do to power-up your physical well-being?
It can lower the health effects of stress. Whether it’s a tough day at work or a conflict at home, even the most benevolent among us have some stress in their lives.Two national studies published in 2013 found that helping others can ease the impact that everyday stress has on your physical health.
It reduces the risk of drug abuse. In 2015, The Oxford Handbook of Prosocial Behavior published a literature review showing that teenagers and college students who volunteer tend to steer clear of alcohol and drugs, along with other “problem behaviors” like delinquency and dropping out of school.
It can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Volunteering is a sneaky way to get out of the house and step away from the screens for a bit. As a result, it could aid in weight loss and lower your cholesterol. A 2013 study showed that 10th graders who volunteered in an after-school program lost more weight and had improved cholesterol profiles compared to their non-volunteering peers.