Did you know that there are studies that say doing good is good for you? Studies suggest that volunteerism and charitable giving can improve self-esteem, reduce depression and anxiety, lower stress, foster social connections and increase happiness – all while making a positive difference in other people’s lives. And since helping others can reduce our own stress, some studies suggest that do-gooders live longer—just ask Former President Jimmy Carter, who at 95 is still an active volunteer.
Generosity chemically affects your brain, in much the same ways that hugging someone, exercising or other happiness-inducing actions do. This can be especially beneficial during the holidays, when many people feel stressed, anxious or sad.
While LifeWorks NW welcomes volunteers and charitable support, the joys of giving and doing good works aren’t tied to any one effort.
During the holidays you may want to donate to your favorite nonprofit, but giving can take many forms and can last all year. Providing new or gently used clothes to Babies in Need, driving an elderly neighbor to the store or installing free smoke alarms in local homes – there are many more opportunities to benefit yourself and others.
If you’d like to share your favorite volunteer opportunity, please add it in the comment section below, and have a joyous, stress-free holiday season.