Wow, somehow we find ourselves in the last week of January and first days of February. The challenge for the end of January is to volunteer!
This week I am calling for a helping hand. The research surrounding volunteering and being of service is compelling. Mayo Clinic reports the reduction of stress and an increase in relaxed, positive emotions (due to a release of dopamine). Volunteers report feelings of appreciation and a sense of meaning which also reduces stress. This reduction of stress is beneficial not just to our mental health, but it affects our physical health too by diminishing heart disease, stroke, depression, anxiety and general illness. Finally, those that volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who don’t. And if that isn’t enough volunteering also builds connection and a support network. The act of helping out brings us out of ourselves and connects us to a greater community. All of this contributes to meaning and joy.
We, my friends, have just grown another root to feed us. How can you help out this week? I have been trying to make it a habit to find something helpful each week that I can do whether that is formal (the food bank) or informal, reach out to a friend or helping out my dad or another elder. There are so many opportunities!