Volunteering improves your health – official!*

Common cold banished?

It certainly feels like winter this week with temperatures, even in London, hovering around zero.  And with the depths of winter necessarily come coughs, colds, various other lurgies and Seasonal Affective Depression.  But does it have to?

We all know some of the practical benefits of volunteering for volunteers – acquiring new skills, getting training in areas that you might not get in your day job or getting experience in a different career field to name just three. 

But what’s less well known is that volunteering has proven benefits in terms of physical and mental health and wellbeing. It makes inuitive sense and there’s always been anecdotal evidence.  As far back as 1988, Allan Luks the famed Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, its oldest and largest mentoring organisation coined the term Helpers’ high – describing a euphoric feeling, followed by a longer period of calm, experienced after performing a kind act generally or specifically via volunteering.  This, it was postulated, results from the release of endorphins and is followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being and sense of self-worth – feelings that in turn reduce stress and improve the health of the helper.

However, our friends at Volunteering England went one step further and did a massive systemic review of thousands of relevant research articles and firmly concluded the following:

Volunteering can increase volunteers’ longevity, improve their mental health, keep them fitter, and enable them to cope better with illness when it occurs.

So while we can’t guarantee you can avoid a winter cold by volunteering, we can say that it will improve your wellbeing.  So get wrapped up, head off that lurgy, feel better and help the community in the process – get volunteering! 

H/T to RSPB

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Categories: Volunteering, Volunteering Issues

Author:Mike

Hi, I'm Mike, JVN's Youth Co-ordinator and blogger. I'll be blogging about all sorts of issues affecting the volunteering community, with a particular focus on how recent developments might affect the UK Jewish community's volunteers. I'm always interested to read the comments you make. If you have something you want to see in the JVN blog, e-mail me at mike@jvn.org.uk and I'll be happy to talk. And if you're inspired by any of my blogs to volunteer, log on to www.jvn.org.uk and register to find your perfect volunteering opportunity.

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