Want To Be Healthier, Sleep Better, Even Live Longer? Have You Considered Volunteering?

Last week marked National Volunteer Week in Australia acknowledging the generous and invaluable contributions volunteers make to our society.

While we all know volunteers who give their time and skills to those in need provide a range of amazing benefits to organisations and the greater community, did you know volunteering benefits not only your chosen organisation, but also your own physical and mental health?

The benefits of volunteering

Research has shown volunteering can lead to lower rates of depression and reduced stress levels through increased social interactions, with the social aspect of volunteering and working with others leading to reported increased overall psychological wellbeing. Lower levels of stress, anger and anxiety were all reported by those who volunteer regularly, particularly those aged 65 and over.

Volunteering your free time to others has also been shown to increase your sense of purpose and make you feel happier, with researchers discovering that the more we give to others, the happier we feel.  Research by the Stony Brook University of Medicine found volunteers reported having less trouble sleeping, less anxiety, and better friendships. While another found volunteering could actually help you live longer, with lower mortality rates found among volunteers compared to non-volunteers, not bad for a few hours of your spare time!

Volunteering at HorizonOne

For me, volunteering is a way for me to give back to the services that have assisted me during my own times of need, a way of returning the favour you might say. I’m lucky to work for a company that also values the benefits of volunteering, at HorizonOne each and every staff member is entitled to an additional two days of paid leave per annum to support their favourite charity or volunteer organisation.

Volunteering doesn’t need to be a significant and long term commitment, by simply giving a few hours on the weekend or over the holidays you could help make a positive impact in your community, and as it turns out, your own health and wellbeing as well.

If you’re interested in giving your time as a volunteer you might like to check out a website like Volunteering ACT to see who needs help in your area, or alternatively you could reach out to a nearby organisation to ask if they might need an extra set of hands.

About the author