Not only is volunteering a selfless activity to lend a helping hand to those in need, you could be doing yourself a favour at the same time.
Donating your time to charity is good for your mental health, particularly for participants who’re middle age or older, reports a new study.
The residents of 5,000 households across Great Britain were surveyed, the report published in BMJ Open stated, with 20% of those people saying they’ve volunteered. On a mental health & well-being questionnaire, where lower scores indicate more health, the volunteers scored around 10.7, while non-volunteers scored an 11.4 average. One notable cause could be that volunteering could “provide a sense of purpose,” the researchers wrote in their report. These social networks and relationships become more essential as people age.
Of all participants, the 40+ age demographics enjoyed the greatest boost to their health from volunteering. The effect scaled with age, with regular volunteers having even healthier scores than those who volunteered irregularly.
“One explanation might be that during younger ages, volunteering may be perceived of as yet another obligatory task to fulfill in order to be a good student, parent, worker and so forth, so it does not have beneficial effects on health,” the researchers suggest.
This study isn’t the first to claim volunteering improves your health. Past studies have documented people over 50 that regularly volunteer are at a reduced risk to develop high blood pressure compared to those who are less charitable with their time.