Health Benefits of Giving Back and Volunteering

4 volunteers serve food in a soup kitchen.

November 17, 2022 | Tags: Community and Diversity Mental Health

Dedicating your time to helping others is a wonderful way to make a difference while boosting your mood. Whether you’re volunteering through your workplace or a philanthropic organization in your community, being a part of something greater than yourself is a very valuable way to spend your time. In addition, it can also benefit your personal health and well-being!

Volunteering and Its Impact on Health

Participating in meaningful activities and seeing the impact you are having on others has been proven to benefit mental health. Volunteering releases endorphins that elevate your mood and generate feelings of overall happiness. Along with giving you a way to build and maintain relationships with community members, volunteering can help reduce stress and feelings of loneliness.

Volunteering also impacts physical health, particularly in older adults, by increasing physical activity and contributing to mental stimulation. A study by Americorps showed that older volunteers in the United States experienced a 44% lower mortality rate than those who did not regularly volunteer.

Providing a Sense of Purpose

When you give back, especially to an area of the community or to a population that you are passionate about, you are given a sense of purpose. Volunteering is a great way to get back into an old hobby or pursue an interest! Are you a former athlete or have a passion for sports? Consider coaching at a nearby school or church. Do you have a love for animals? Shelters are often in need of volunteers. Whatever your passions may be, finding a way to pursue them while giving back can give them a brand-new meaning and add joy to your life.

Ways to Volunteer

Regardless of where you live, there are many ways to volunteer and give back to your community. Whether you volunteer consistently, or are just starting out, there are countless organizations that can always use an extra helping hand. Consider dedicating your time to the following in your area:

  • Visiting with seniors at a local senior center or nursing home
  • Volunteering to collect, organize or hand out items at a local food bank
  • Helping with local efforts to keep parks and public spaces in your area clean
  • Spending time promoting or helping out at an animal shelter in your area
  • Looking into tutoring opportunities or become a mentor to a child or teen

For more ideas and to see how Medical Mutual gives back to the community, check out our Community Outreach page.


Sources: Americorps