Welcome to the new Project Helping Website!

Volunteering and Mental Wellness

Volunteering helps improve your mood, makes you feel healthier, increases your sense of purpose, and reduces your stress levels. Volunteering can also give us a deep sense of happiness, both immediately and long term.
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The Benefits

The Research Says

0 %
of volunteers

say that volunteering has helped them manage a chronic illness such as depression.​

0 %
of people

who volunteer say that volunteering improves their mood.

0 %
of people

who volunteer say that volunteering has made them feel healthier.

0 %
of volunteers

say that volunteering enriches their sense of purpose.

0 %
of volunteers

say they are helping to make their community a better place.

0 %
of people

who volunteer say they feel they have control over their mental health and depression.

0 %
of new volunteer

of new volunteers felt that volunteering would help their career.

0 %
of volunteers

say that volunteering lowers their stress levels.

The Science

When you volunteer or do an intentional act of kindness for someone else, you make an impact – both on them and on you! There is great research to support the effects doing good has on our mental wellness. We have collected some of that research here. This is just some of the science that supports our work and outlines why it’s so beneficial to do good things for others. We call that practicing kyndfulness. No matter how you do it, get out there and do good…because science.

“Doing a kindness produces the single most reliable increase in wellbeing [for the doer] of any exercise we’ve tested.” ~Dr. Martin Seligman (Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center & Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology)

  • Research now proves that sharing your time with others for a good cause can improve your overall happiness and mental well-being.
  • Studies have shown that volunteering helps people who donate their time feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression.
  • “Volunteering is a pathway through which you can increase brain activity” (Michelle Carlson, Johns Hopkins University.)
  • Volunteering has long been a common ethic in the United States, with people each year giving their time without any expectation of compensation.
    • While these volunteer activities may be performed with the core intention of helping others, there is also a common wisdom that those who give of themselves also receive. Researchers have attempted to measure the benefits that volunteers receive, including the positive feeling, referred to as “helper’s high,” increased trust in others, and increased social and political participation.
  • Volunteering should be promoted by public health…
    • …education and policy practitioners as a kind of healthy lifestyle, especially for the social subgroups of elders, ethnic minorities, those with little education, single people, and unemployed people, who generally have poorer health and less participation in volunteering.
  • Research published by Citizens Advice Bureau indicates that volunteering boosts self-esteem, employability and health – especially mental health.
  • Altruism, Happiness, and Health: It’s Good to be Good by Stephen G. Post.
  • There Are Scientifically Proven Benefits of Being Kind (RandomActsofKindness.org – The Science of Being Kind)
  • Well-being has been found to be elevated when individuals are better able to sustain positive emotion; recover more quickly from negative experiences; engage in empathic and altruistic acts; and express high levels of mindfulness. (Eric S. Kim, a research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)
  • Meaningful Activities Protect the Brain from Depression. A new study of adolescents found that those who derive joy from selfless deeds were less likely to be depressed over time.
  • The findings revealed participants who performed acts of kindness, whether for the world or for others, were more likely to report feeling happy or to experience improvement in their mood than were the control group and those who were kind to themselves.
  • How kindness improves your life and how it can decrease negative aspects of it.
  • Research reveals that doing good deeds, or kind acts, can make socially-anxious people feel better. For four weeks, the University of British Columbia researchers assigned people with high levels of anxiety to do kind acts for other people at least six times a week.
  • Altruism, Happiness, and Health: It’s Good to be Good by Stephen G. Post.
  • How Doing Good is Good for the Do-Gooder
  • How Simple Acts of Kindness Can Significantly Boost Your Well-Being
  • Meaningful Activities (like kyndfulness!) Protect the Brain from Depression. A new study of adolescents found that those who derive joy from selfless deeds were less likely to be depressed over time.
  • Impact of Volunteering on Physical and Emotional Health & Well‐Being: Volunteering appears to have a powerful impact on the six signs of personal wellness, with those who participate in volunteering activities reporting higher levels of life satisfaction, sense of control over life and feeling physically and emotionally healthier.
  • Studies have shown that volunteering helps people who donate their time feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression.
  • The findings revealed participants who performed acts of kindness, whether for the world or for others, were more likely to report feeling happy or to experience improvement in their mood than were the control group and those who were kind to themselves.
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis led by researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School in England found that volunteers reported lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction and enhanced well-being.
  • Performing random acts of kindness helps boost your psychological health by releasing dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain. Giving produces endorphins in the brain. (Nelson KS, Layous K, Cole SW et al.)