Brown School

Volunteering has some surprising health benefits

Five tips for finding a volunteer project that will give back as much to you as you give it.

From NBC News

We all have that friend who’s got her (or his) life together. She has a great job. He’s got a loving partner. She works out. He makes his own yogurt. And the cherry on top: she tutors disadvantaged 2nd-graders twice a week.

What’s her secret? Experts say it might in fact be that time your friend sets aside for volunteering.

“There’s quite a bit of work on the benefits of volunteering, probably because in some ways it’s sort of the perfect activity,” says Nancy Morrow-Howell, MSW, PhD, director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging and a professor of social policy at Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, who researches the health benefits of volunteering.

“It seems to produce health for the volunteer. And it’s contributing to the greater social good, because generally volunteers are working with organizations on some sort of social mission,” she says. “It’s a win-win.”

Studies have linked volunteering with better mental health, including more life satisfaction, having a stronger sense of purpose, having greater self-esteem, having a sense of increased personal control, having less social isolation, having slower cognitive decline, and showing fewer depressive symptoms.

  Read more at NBC News.