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Gain the power of happiness through volunteering.

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There’s something satisfying and fulfilling about volunteering. Whenever I am asked to volunteer-which I try to do on a regular basis-I always feel better leaving than when I arrived.

I have known about the mental health benefits of volunteering for some time. Studies have shown that people who volunteer their time usually feel more connected socially, which in turn keeps away the feeling of loneliness and depression. But I have also recently learned that volunteering can have a positive effect on more than just mental health. People who give their time to others may also have better physical health.

One key factor in gaining better physical and mental health through volunteering is to do it for the right reasons. A study completed in 2012 shows that people who volunteered on a regular basis showed signs of living longer, but only if their intentions were for good. In other words, they had to be volunteering to benefit others and not for the sake of them hoping to feel better.

Next time you have the opportunity to help your neighbor, an elderly person, or if you’re volunteering at a local organization, think about the people you are helping to make their life easier. You’ll be helping yourself and your community.

For more information about volunteering opportunities in central Ohio, visit Volunteers of America Greater Ohio,  Volunteer Match, BESA or HandsOn Central Ohio.