It should come as no surprise that volunteering is an activity that is beneficial not only to those on the receiving end of the charitable work, but also those on the giving end. But did you know there is scientific and psycho-social evidence to support health benefits of volunteering?
Scientists have confirmed molecular-level benefits to the body of meaningful activity like volunteering. C-reactive protein (CRP), a biological marker associated with inflammation and heart disease, is often found in higher levels in older adults. However, CRP was found to be lower among older adults engaged in meaningful activity like volunteering and helping.
Helping others is also shown to contribute to longer lives. Dan Buettner, author of the Blue Zones, identified being part of a faith community and having a purposeful life as some of the signature characteristics of the world’s longest-lived people. Helping others gives life purpose and meaning, and it makes you feel good, whether aiding your frail neighbor, being a Red Cross volunteer, working at a youth organization, or leading a Bible study your local church. Productive activities give us the satisfaction of knowing we are making a difference in the world.
Feeling depressed? Volunteerism fights depression by providing an identity, a sense of belonging and a purpose in life. Helping is part of our identity as Americans. Alexis de Tocqueville traveled the country in the 1830’s and wrote the book Democracy in America. In it he said, “America is a nation of joiners” who form societies of volunteers to help each other. The same is true today. There are more opportunities than ever to serve in our communities by helping children, youth, older adults, and the homeless.
When we follow in the footsteps of those who’ve gone before us – helping, serving, volunteering, saving, and defending others – it make a difference in the lives of those we serve, but it also inspires us emotionally and empowers us at a molecular level. It truly is more blessed to give than to receive.
For more information about The Rehab Inn at Wesley Place on Honeysuckle, contact our admissions team at 334-792-0921.