The effects on your brain when you volunteer

Studies have shown a strong relationship between volunteering and health. Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment, helps provide greater self-esteem and satisfaction with life, and is great for your brain health.

The Brain Benefits of Volunteering are Endless
• Volunteering increases social interaction. When you volunteer, you spend more time out of the house, form new friendships and can help strengthen ties to the community.

• Stay physically and mentally active. Volunteering increases your physically activity and helps get you out of the house. Research has also shown that those who volunteer are better able to do housework, gardening, and other everyday tasks.

• Makes your brain feel good. Studies have shown that after people donated or volunteered, the part of their brain that was active was the mesolimbic system. This is the part of the brain that controls the feelings of reward and pleasure.

Older volunteers are even more likely to receiver greater benefits than younger volunteers, because younger volunteers are more likely to volunteer out of obligation. You don’t have to commit a lot of time to volunteering, research shows that just two to three hours a week can offer the most benefits to you (and the cause).

Tips to Help You Start Volunteering

  • Look for opportunities that meet your skills and interests.
  • Check for opportunities at local animal shelters, rescues, or wildlife centers.
  • Volunteer at your child or grandchild’s school.
  • Volunteer with friends or family to make volunteering less intimidating and more fun.