It feels good to give. Sure, giving back should be an altruistic, selfless notion, but the truth is that giving back is good for both the giver and the recipient. Studies even prove that there are amazing benefits to giving, whether you are taking on a regular volunteer position, donating money, or simply doing a random act of kindness.
Giving back is important to me. Growing up with a handicapped sibling, I saw the importance of volunteerism and paying it forward almost every day. Now that I am a parent, making sure that my kids are empathetic towards others is also extremely important to me.
After you read the reasons why it's good to give, you may just take some time today to give to others!
1. You may live longer
Volunteering may not just be good for the recipient of your time and kindness, but it may be good for your own health too. Researchers found a 20% increase in mortality among volunteers compared to non-volunteers.
2. You may be happier
Volunteering makes people happy. People who volunteer have lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction, and a more positive well-being than those who do not do volunteer work.
3. You can build your resume
Volunteering can be a great way to gain work experience, especially when you are volunteering in your field of interest, trying to master a new skill, or hoping to on-ramp back into the work force.
Related:10 ways to be a happier person for life
4. You can strengthen a bond
It is true that people usually feel good when they make a charitable donation, but they feel even better if they make the donation directly to someone they know or on behalf of someone they know. The greatest happiness boost comes from giving to a charity via a friend, relative, or social connection, rather than simply making an anonymous donation to a worthy cause.
5. You will set a good example
Children who make an effort to perform acts of kindness report being happier and feeling more accepted by their peers. Being kind to others can have a cyclical effect in that those who are kind are less likely to be bullies, and those who are kind (and therefore more accepted) are less likely to be bullied. So let's be a good example for the next generation and teach them ways to be kind to others.
6. Your heart will thank you
Kindness is good for your heart, both figuratively and literally. Older adults who volunteer have lower blood pressure than those who do not volunteer. However, the benefits on the heart start young, too. Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of mortality, and the first signs of the disease can begin to appear during adolescence. Research shows that teens who volunteer even just one hour per week can have lower levels of inflammation, lower cholesterol, and lower BMIs than those who do not volunteer.
Margaret Mead once said to, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." People who give to others are not just showing them that they matter. They are showing that action matters; that taking a stance matters. Doing what you can matters.
-By Jessica Cohen
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