There is a common saying that volunteers are some of the happiest people in the world. This has been confirmed in research showing that people who volunteer are much less likely to suffer from depression than those who don’t volunteer. Reasons for this are quite apparent and include more social contact, the feeling of contributing, having a social/support network and not being isolated.
Volunteering and lower blood pressure
What is even more interesting is the correlation between volunteering and physiological benefits, in particular, lowering blood pressure. In a study published in 2013, adults over the age of 50 who regularly volunteered were less likely to develop high blood pressure, than those that didn’t volunteer. High blood pressure is obviously a major health concern for people in their later years and this may be helpful.
How does volunteering make a difference?
It could also be that people volunteering may be more likely to do other healthy activities such as exercise and eating better, but there definitely is a correlation. theory is around stress reduction. High stress levels are linked with high blood pressure due to the fight/flight response. Volunteering can be helpful in reducing stress but (and here is the caveat) it must be something that they feel strongly for or that their intentions are truly altruistic.
Where to go from here
So the question begs, what are you passionate about and how would you like to make a difference? Not only can it be good for others, but also good for your health!
Have a look at this facebook page and these websites if you would like to find out more on volunteering in Sydney.