You often hear that it is better to give than to receive but what you may not be aware of is that it is actually backed by research. You may feel too stressed and busy to worry about helping others or doing good deeds in your spare time but evidence shows that focusing on other people needs is actually beneficial for your own mental health. When you put other people’s needs before your own, it helps reduce stress, improves your emotional wellbeing, and even benefits your physical health.
Following are the reasons that will compel you to volunteer and to have a great mental health:
It brings joy:
According to researchers, the act of helping others can actually light up the reward centers in your brain. These rewards centers send your brain to a natural high level from volunteering and promote positive thinking. This shows that if you want to stay happy from helping others, the best way is to volunteer. Helping causes and people in need are phenomenal and is the best secret to keeping a good mental health.
Increase in oxytocin production:
The studies in the Hormones and Behavior journal prove that volunteering spikes the growth of oxytocin production. It is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for the regulation of the social interaction. By helping others you feel better at social interaction and bring positive effects on those who suffer from social anxiety.
Takes away your stress:
When you are alone, your stress levels are high because you focus on your own problems. But when you get engaged in even having a smaller conversation with someone or interact with a pet, you build a meaningful connection that shifts your focus to other people.
The studies have proved that people who practice volunteering activities for around 200 hours a year are likely to have lower blood pressure and keep you fit.
Gives you a sense of purpose:
Your whole life you consider your actions don’t make much of a difference because they are centered on your own self. But by volunteering, you get a sense of purpose in life. You learn the impact of helping others with your minimal effort and how it feels to see smiles on the face of others.
It reduces depression:
When you are living in your own circle, your self-criticism can go to extreme and waste all your energy on thinking negatively. But if you consider volunteering at this stage, it will open up your mind and will open up millions of opportunities for you to stop you feeling sad and hopeless. By focusing on other people’s hardships and struggles, you feel your own problems are not much of an issue. It gives you a reason to break the connection with your depressed feelings and think about helping those who are living miserable lives as compared to you.
Improves cognitive and brain function:
Volunteering helps to improve your overall brain functions. When your brain is healthy, it increases the production of correct hormones for mood regulation as well as other similar processes. Studies have proved that adults who spent volunteering with a young mentoring program showed a visible improvement in their cognitive ability.
Altruism acts are those when you put others needs in front of your own. They can be smallest as to giving up your seat on a bus for an older person in a bus or making a cup of coffee for colleagues. It reduces your own stress and improves your mood.
You can help others as part of your everyday life by carrying out good deeds that do not take a lot of your time or even cost money. But these small changes will make a big difference in the lives of other people and will help you feel great.