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Extra time on your hands? Do some good with it! Share your skills and passions with others through volunteer work. You’ll not only help them; you’ll help yourself, too.

That’s right; volunteering has benefits beyond the good deeds themselves. Research has found that adults who volunteer may live longer than non-volunteers. Now, we’re certainly not saying to give up working out and eating healthy, but finding some time to volunteer could be a great boost for your health.

The happiness effect

Helping others is also known to have a positive effect on your mental health. Making a difference in someone else’s life makes you feel good — it’s human nature! In fact, that positive energy that you get from doing a good deed has a name: It’s called a “helpers’ high.” It’s thanks to endorphins, your body’s feel-good chemicals.

Here are a five more reasons to get out and lend a hand:

  1. It reminds you to appreciate what you have. Volunteering at a soup kitchen or a hospital? Helping those who are going through a hard time can really put things in perspective.
  2. You feel socially connected. Getting out in the community, interacting with people and making friendsare all good ways to ward off loneliness and depression.
  3. You gain a renewed sense of purpose. Older adults who are retired may find new meaning and direction in their lives.
  4. It gives your self-esteem a boost. It feels good to be needed and appreciated.
  5. It keeps you sharp. Participating in activities that are meaningful and productive may lower the risk of dementia.

Looking for opportunities to make a difference? Visit to search for places to volunteer in your area.