It’s Good for Your Health

Recent research from 10 large studies concluded that people who have found meaning in their lives have a lower risk of heart problems and early death. For the 130,000+ people studied, “meaning” referred to a sense of purpose or usefulness in the larger world. Most of us will not get the chance to lead a country, or run a hospital, or save the whales so it’s important to realize that meaning can be found close to home. Volunteering for a local cause or non-profit can bring a sense of well-being to the giver because it engages an individual in a cause bigger than herself. Many people note that when volunteering, stress slips away and is replaced, at least for a time, with a sense of accomplishment (a rare feeling these days). How can you find a cause to work for? Check social media. Many towns have “talk groups” or event sites where non-profits are asking for volunteers.

First, however, think about what interests you. Where would you spend your time if you had all the time in the world? (Of course you don’t, but work with me for a minute.) Looking to help the environment? Watch for park cleanup days. Would you like to work with animals? Check with your local animal shelter about walking or socializing puppies. If you’re good at crafts, you could knit or crochet baby blankets for a homeless shelter.

We can all do something and now there’s even more reason to work on behalf of others.

We can do it for our own best health.