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The Happiness Effect

Cheerful Volunteers in park Everyone wants to live a life that is meaningful and fulfilled. There are many ways to become happier and one of those is to help someone else. Altruism is the unselfish concern for other people that often lead us to volunteer for a cause that we believe in. There are so many benefits to volunteering, so I want to share some wonderful facts with you and encourage you to find what you are passionate about to begin helping others and ultimately making your life better too.

A study showed that compared to people who never volunteer the odds of being very happy rose 7% among those who volunteer monthly and 12% among those who volunteered every other week. And about 20% of those volunteering each week! Also, the act of helping others actually activates the part of your brain that makes you feel pleasure and activities your mesolimbic system releasing a hormone called oxytocin. So by giving your time to a cause you believe in and helping others, you are actually making yourself happier and healthier.

Helping others can build your self-esteem, make you feel more connected to your community and others, and make us feel more optimistic. Lastly, I want to mention that helping others can make us feel more thankful. As we help others it is easy to reflect on our own circumstances and feel more grateful for our blessings.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of what you give!

  • Don’t look at it as additive-It is something you get to do, not have to do!
  • Ask yourself what you want to accomplish most
  • Start with what you can do
  • Don’t overburden yourself
  • Be a good manager of your time
  • Include your family
  • Learn

Volunteering has a positive effect on your community and it can have a positive effect on you too!

Blog post provided by:
Alicia Rollins, CAVS
Director-Guest and Volunteer Services
Hannibal Regional Healthcare System


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