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8 Ways Volunteering Benefits You

8 Ways Volunteering Benefits You

Whether it’s court-ordered community service, required for a class, because you feel it is your duty, or for any other reason, volunteering is an enriching experience. We know that volunteering is a chance to serve others and give back to the community, but we might not see how it affects us and our lives. I would like to propose that volunteering can be more than just dutiful work, but is in fact richly beneficial for you. Here’s how.

 1. You will learn about yourself

Investing time in serving the community will stretch you. You will experience challenging personalities and face hard problems. Volunteering is a great way to learn more about yourself in a setting that is new to you. You might learn what you like and dislike about a certain population. You may learn about how your strengths enhance a group or about areas you need to improve. We learn about ourselves constantly in every experience. Volunteering is a great way to gain insight into who you are.

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2. You will learn new skills

The great news about volunteering is that, since they aren’t paying you, most places will take just about anyone! By donating some of your time, you are able to learn and practice new skills that may otherwise take money and extra effort to learn. It may be something concrete like gardening or making coffee. It will almost always include skills that are less obvious, such as communication skills or fundraising. Volunteering is a great opporunity to perfect the skills you have and learn something new.

3. You will build your resume

A perk of volunteering is adding another valuable line to your resume. Employers like to see community involvement. Having community service on your resume says a lot about who you are. Employers like to see people who are dedicated to their community and passionate for a cause. Your resume will be extra juicy with those volunteer hours attached.

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4. You will make friends with different types of people

When you decide to volunteer for something you are passionate about, chances are the people surrounding you will share those same sentiments. Shared interests bring people together. As fellow volunteers working towards a common goal, you will start to build a unique relationship that might not be found anywhere else. Differences between people fade when hearts are exposed. These are the types of friendships that can last a lifetime.

5. You will make valuable connections

It’s not about what you know, but who you know. Connections are formed when you are involved in an agency. A great way to get your foot in the door for a job you are hoping to have one day is to volunteer in the field. You might be surprised to find that many opportunities can come from the people you meet through volunteer work. In addition, you can build professional relationships with people who could potentially recommend you for a job in the future. Volunteering offers a chance to network with the people you need to know.

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6. You will be a part of the community

Serving the community offers a sense of attachment and belonging. When we volunteer for a cause we are passionate about, when we invest our hearts in our community, they become our treasures. You are enhancing the place you call home, and you will never feel more at home than when you are putting your efforts towards making it better.

7. You will feel empowered

As adults, we have so much on our plates. There is work, family, relationships, chores, and the demands never seem to end. If you have the time, volunteering can be a great way to do something for yourself that gives you a sense of control. At most places, it is up to you how many hours you serve. You can decide to get more involved or take a step back. In addition, you will be making a difference for something that you care about. It is empowering to know that you are needed somewhere to do something important.

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 8. You will live a more passionate life

We don’t all have the dream job. We don’t all get to do what we are passionate about every day, but I do know we are all passionate about something. Volunteering is a chance to acknowledge that passion within you. When you learn new skills, you enhance yourself. When you invest in the community, you build your sense of home. When you take the time to do something you care about, it will change you. Volunteering is a chance not only to give back to others, but to give back to yourself.

Choose to volunteer for something you are interested in. There are so many ways to get involved. You can volunteer using skills like knitting, gardening, or painting. You can get involved in a cause that you are passionate about, such as fighting diseases, supporting political campaigns, or promoting international justice. Research the opportunities in your community or beyond the borders. If you have the time, it’s worth it! The life-giving power of volunteering shows us that service is just as much for us as it is for others.

Featured photo credit: DiNo via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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