Around the holidays, many people seek out ways to give back through service or financial gifts. And there’s good reason to make the former a priority, as research has found that volunteering has significant health benefits. This is true for both “self-oriented”
volunteering as well as “other-oriented” volunteering.
Self-oriented volunteering is that which is done primarily for the benefit of the one providing the service (i.e., volunteering to gain perspective, practice discipline or for other self-improvement purposes). Other-oriented service is volunteering for the sole purpose of benefiting those who receive the service.
What is interesting is that both types of volunteerism produce comparable health benefits for the volunteer. Time and time again, research has shown that volunteering positively correlates with the following aspects of health:
- Greater life satisfaction
- Improved self-esteem
- Increased happiness
- Lower depressive symptoms
- Less psychological distress
- Decreased mortality and morbidity
- Greater functional ability
Contributed by Timothy Borowski, M.S., a natural healthcare professional and founder of Axon Movement, located at Statera Health in Edina. You can find him @timothy_borowski on Instagram.