Wellness Benefits of

Volunteering

Volunteering and Mental Wellness

Research shows that volunteering has both mental and physical health benefits. 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.

Be The Numbers

About a quarter of people who volunteer say that volunteering has helped them manage a chronic illness such as depression.

  • 76% of people who volunteer say that volunteering has made them feel healthier.
  • 94% of people who volunteer say that volunteering improves their mood.
  • 96% of people say that volunteering enriches their sense of purpose.
  • 95% of people who volunteer say they are helping to make their community a better place.

More Stats

  • 80% of people who volunteer say they feel they have control over their mental health and depression.
  • 78% of people who volunteer say that volunteering lowers their stress levels.
  • 49% of people who volunteer say that volunteering has helped with their career in the paid job market.
  • 56% of new volunteers felt that volunteering would help their career.

The Benefits

Jaci's Story

How We Can

Help

Project Helping offers a unique solution for those looking to improve their mental health or combat the symptoms of their depression.  Through organizing and executing group volunteer events, we put people in a position to serve others while being part of an amazing social setting which creates a sense of community.  By focusing on the volunteer, we amplify the amazing health benefits of volunteering to improve mental wellness. The feeling of purpose derived from serving others helps people improve mental wellness and cope with the symptoms of depression. The feeling of belonging from volunteering in a peer group empowers people to speak up and seek help in putting an end to the stigma of depression and mental health.

Our Founder's

Story

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with my mental wellness. There was a point in my life where I thought I Justin Krugerhad tried every option, with little success – which was very frustrating, to say the least. By chance, I was given the opportunity to volunteer with a group in Denver, CO. Reluctantly, I agreed to participate. Little did I know that volunteer project would change my life. That day, while serving others, I found something in me that I had forgotten existed. I found joy. There is a joy that comes from serving others that cannot be replicated through any activity other than volunteering.

As I continued to volunteer, my mental health continued to improve and my depression symptoms grew more and more manageable. Volunteering gave me a sense of purpose that was created by being part of something bigger than myself. The more volunteering helped me, the more inspired I became to share it with others. This is where the impetus for Project Helping was born. My mission is to share my experience to help others.

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.

Explore the tabs below for research and articles to support the mental wellness benefits of kyndfulness.

The

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

94% of people who volunteered in the past 12 months say that volunteering improves their mood. (United Healthcare Study)

80% of people who volunteered in the past 12 months say they have control over their mental health. (United Healthcare Study)

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.

This study examined similarities and differences between persons with and without disabilities on volunteering, donations and group participation.

(1) Volunteering among senior citizens improves their mental well-being; (2) Few previous studies reported volunteering improves physical health such as protection for mortality and incidence of disability, compared to mental well-being.

Adults 50+ who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. (Carnegie Mellon study)

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.

(Source: Nelson KS, Layous K, Cole SW et al)

Read More

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

Practicing kindness produces a 23 percent reduction in cortisol which is a stress hormone that occurs naturally within the body. People dealing with depression tend to have higher levels of this stress hormone. (Weng et al. [2013])

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.)

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.)

94% of people who volunteered in the past 12 months say that volunteering improves their mood. (United Healthcare Study)

80% of people who have volunteered in the past 12 months say they have control over their mental health. (United Healthcare Study)

One of the strongest predictors of well-being is the quality of an individual’s social relationships. This study explores how those relationships can impact self worth.

Structured Learning and Self‐Reflection: Strategies to Decrease Anxiety in the Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nursing Experience

Why Doing Good Is Good for the Do-Gooder (New York Times)

The Science of Gratitude and Why It’s Important in Your Workplace

The Science of Gratitude and Why It’s Important in Your Workplace

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