With the world in as much turmoil as it seems to be in this year, it can be hard to see the light. When that light is hard to find, sometimes we must make it ourselves. Giving back to your community during these times may seem like quite the burden to add on to all your other ones. However, giving back does not diminish you. In fact, there are many health benefits to giving back that make them even more worthwhile. Here is how giving back can be good for your health.
We’ve all heard of the so-called “runner’s high,” but have you ever heard of the “helper’s high”? It’s a real thing—a sudden burst of good feelings that can come from doing something good. Giving back activates your brain’s reward system, which causes it to release dopamine, the all-important chemical that makes us feel happier. Rather than buying something useless or bingeing another show, try giving back to your community for a quick kick of feel-good emotions.
Lowering Depression Symptoms
While many things become more difficult when one deals with depression, there has been some evidence that doing charity work can combat these feelings. Once again, giving back can release dopamine, a chemical that can help fight the feelings of hopelessness and melancholy that come with depression. While it’s not a cure-all, anything that can reduce depressive feelings has to be a good thing.
Reducing Mental Clutter
Our surroundings can have more of an impact on our mental health than we realize. A messy, over-cluttered home can contribute to mental stress quite a bit. That’s why it can be such a joy to donate old items that we no longer need. Places like the Purple Heart Pickup organization take old, well-loved items and use them to help people in need. Not only is it great for your community, but you can enjoy less stress by having a cleaner and more organized home.
Physical Health Benefits
The trials of the year have taken a toll on all of us, one way or another. Let’s not overstate it—real charity work is hard work. Working at a relief center or a soup kitchen, or even cleaning up roads of trash, requires a lot of physical labor as well as mental. This is more important now than ever since everyone has spent months stuck inside. Getting out there to do some good can benefit your heart and your mind at the same time.
With plenty of reasons why giving back is good for your health, there’s no excuse not to do at least a little bit of charity work. Even the smallest act can have a huge impact on someone else’s life, so get out there, and we can all start feeling better.