Philanthropist Andrew Bronson Barna recently discussed the mental and physical benefits of volunteering. 

There’s no doubt that volunteering is a positive action. However, many people don’t consider how positive volunteering is for the volunteer himself. Philanthropist Andrew Bronson Barna recently discussed the major mental and physical benefits of volunteering.

“Volunteering has been changing the lives of individuals in the community and volunteers themselves for centuries,” Andrew Bronson Barna said. “The impact became so clear that major organizations, like the Mayo Clinic, have begun doing research.”

Research by the Mayo Clinic has shown that the act of volunteering can build a person’s confidence, lower stress, and provide many other health benefits. Amazingly, volunteering has been proven to lead to a lower risk of depression, especially in adults over the age of 65.

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“The lower rates of depression among volunteers is linked to increased social interaction and a greater support system,” Andrew Bronson Barna said. “The moment you begin volunteering is the moment you start creating a support system of individuals with similar interests to yours.”

Andrew Bronson Barna added that volunteering gives individuals a sense of purpose, especially those who may not have work or many other obligations. The work volunteers perform is essential, whether they’re greeting others, building homes, distributing food, or helping in thousands of other ways.

Similarly, Barna explained that the work volunteers perform helps them develop unique skills. These skills can be used to advance their own careers or simply benefit their own lives too. For instance, learning to build a home with Habitat for Humanity can provide you with the skills needed to work on your own home in the future, saving you a lot of time and money. Or, it could inspire a passion for construction work, which leads to a career change.

“For many volunteers, volunteer efforts are what keep their body and mind active,” Andrew Bronson Barna said. “Volunteers, in general, have superior physical health to individuals who do not volunteer. This is especially relevant among older volunteers, who remain in better physical and mental health due to volunteering.”

Another benefit of volunteering as outlined by Barna includes decreased stress due to a greater sense of meaning, more appreciation, and a larger social network. This larger social network also means the development of new relationships. These relationships can lead to lifelong friendships, business relationships, referrals, and more.

“Simply put, volunteering is positive for everyone involved,” Barna finished. “Many people view volunteering as another obligation that cuts into their free time, but that’s because they don’t understand how enjoyable it can be. I always head home with my head held high after a day or even a few hours of volunteering.”

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