Volunteering: Good for what ails you

Why volunteering is good for you:  New Scientist ran an article this week ‘Happy New You, 10 Resolutions Really Worth Making’.

Their number 1 was ‘embracing nature’, extolling the value of being outside more. But more relevantly to us, on the list is, ‘helping others’. They start with a quote from Aristotle “The essence of life is to serve others and do good”. Here’s some of what they wrote:

It turns out that people who volunteer are happier and healthier on average than those who don’t…….the biggest boost comes by doing work directly focused on helping others…….[in a 4 year study] more active volunteers were 40% less likely to have developed high blood pressure……one possible explanation is that volunteering takes your mind off your own troubles and may provide a sense of perspective. Another is that altruistic behaviour triggers the brain’s reward circuitry and the release of the “bonding” hormone oxytocin……social interaction is key So stick with us – and any other volunteering you do – and live longer and more healthily!!

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