CLEVELAND, Ohio – Turns out volunteer work isn’t just great for the community.
“Studies have indicated that volunteering is great for your mental health,” said Susan Albers, PsyD, psychologist for Cleveland Clinic. “It has been shown to decrease stress levels, depression, anxiety and boost your overall health and satisfaction with life.”
According to Dr. Albers, helping people rewards your brain with serotonin, dopamine and endorphins, which makes the act of volunteering feel good. Besides developing a deeper sense of purpose and meaning, those who volunteer also tend to meet new people and get more exercise.
Even something as simple as donating food, taking out someone’s trash or shoveling an elderly person’s driveway can have positive results.
“You can get your entire family involved in volunteering. It is great to role model to children that this is a great way to boost your mental health,” Dr. Albers said. “It’s free. It’s an activity that everyone can do. It doesn’t require a lot of skill or time.”
Dr. Albers recommends picking something that is meaningful to you, so long as you have the time to do it.