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November 28, 2022/Daily Health Stories

Why Volunteering can Benefit your Mental Health

November 29 is Giving Tuesday. A psychologist talks about the mental health benefits of giving back to others in your community.

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Why Volunteering can Benefit your Mental Health

CLEVELAND – November 29 is Giving Tuesday, which is held every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

If you’ve never participated, you may want to reconsider.

Not only will you be helping others in need, but it’s good for your mental health too!

“Studies have indicated that volunteering is great for your mental health,” said Susan Albers, PsyD, psychologist for Cleveland Clinic. “It has been shown to decrease stress levels, depression, anxiety and boost your overall health and satisfaction with life.”

Dr. Albers said when you help other people, it activates the reward center in your brain and releases serotonin, dopamine and endorphins.

That’s why many people often feel better after volunteering.

Some other benefits include meeting new people, getting in some physical activity and developing a deeper sense of purpose and meaning.

It may also give you a new perspective on life.

Dr. Albers said volunteering doesn’t always have to be something major, you can do simple gestures like donating food, taking out someone’s trash or shoveling an elderly person’s driveway.

“You can get your entire family involved in volunteering. It is great to role model to children that this is a great way to boost your mental health,” she said. “It’s free. It’s an activity that everyone can do. It doesn’t require a lot of skill or time.”

Dr. Albers reminds people to consider the time commitment required before signing up for volunteering.

She also suggests picking something that is meaningful to you.

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