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5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer


Mar. 12, 2014 Psychology Today

1. Volunteers live longer and are healthier.

Volunteers are happier and healthier than non-volunteers. In fact, during later life, volunteering is even more beneficial for one’s health than exercising and eating well. Older people who volunteer remain physically functional longer, have more robust psychological well-being, and live longer. However, older people who volunteer are almost always people who volunteered earlier in life. Health and longevity gains from volunteering come from establishing meaningful volunteer roles before you retire and continuing to volunteer once you arrive in your post-retirement years.

2. Volunteering establishes strong relationships.

Despite all of the online connections that are available at our fingertips, people are lonelier now than ever before. Indeed, a 2010 AARP study reported that prevalence of loneliness is at an all time high, with about one in three adults age 45 or older categorized as lonely. Online connections, while useful for maintaining existing relationships, are not very helpful in establishing lasting, new ones. Working alongside people who feel as strongly as you do about supporting a particular cause creates a path to developing strong relationships with others. It isn’t just beneficial for making new friendships either. Volunteering alongside other members of your family strengthens family bonds based in “doing” your values. And these benefits have a ripple effect. Children who volunteer with their parents are more likely to become adults who volunteer.

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