Doing good deeds for those less fortunate doesn’t only improve their lives, it improves the giver’s life as well. Here are a few ways you can improve your mental health by being a do-gooder.
The Proof of Those Who Give
Although the world can be a cruel place to live, there’s no reason to believe that people don’t care. Kickstarter and GoFundMe are two crowdfunding campaigns that generate around $17 billion each year in North America. In 2018, Americans gave $49 billion in gifts to the top 100 largest U.S. charities. In addition to this, there are 63 million American volunteers who spend 8 billion hours of their time helping nonprofit organizations yearly.
Giving Back Increases Positivity
Online therapy outlet Talkspace highlights that giving back increases positivity. In fact, those who volunteer or donate to charity have been known to have what’s called the “helper’s high”. This means they secrete feel-good chemicals such as oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. Besides this, studies by the Cleveland Clinic show that doing good often leads to lower stress levels, greater happiness, higher self-esteem, lower blood pressure, longer life span, and less chance of being depressed.
Gain a Higher Sense of Purpose
Too many people lack a sense of purpose in their everyday lives. From grocery store clerks to anyone who may feel stuck in a meaningless job, it’s no wonder people feel hopeless. The good news is volunteering or donating to an organization, whether you care or not, can help you gain a sense of purpose. In fact, your actions can have a positive effect on your feelings. Furthermore, being connected to a larger purpose can give you a positive self-image, and help anyone grow up with more hope for the future.
Selfless Actions Inspire Gratitude
Seeing people who are less fortunate than you can make you feel more grateful for your own life. Additionally, Talkspace highlights the fact that when you know someone else benefited from the money or time you selflessly gave, you can feel thankful for what they gained. Experiencing gratitude for your past, present or future can also make you feel less depressed and happier.
Help the Environment, Help Yourself
Helping the environment is one of the best ways to take care of your mental health. According to a study published in the Oxford Journal, fewer depressive symptoms were present in environment-based volunteers. This gives a person the perfect excuse to plant trees or join a community garden.
If everyone truly understood the personal benefits of helping those less fortunate, maybe they would volunteer for a worthy cause on a regular basis. No matter which way you look at it, you can’t go wrong by doing the right thing. One of the best reasons to help others is to change the world for the better, even if it’s only one person at a time.
Check out the Talkspace app for iOS here.