FOUR HEALTH BENEFITS OF GIVING BACK
On the International Day of Charity, make a difference in your community while giving your own wellbeing a boost.
Many of us have a strong desire to give back to our community. Giving back provides opportunities to make a difference, create social bonds and contribute to causes important to us.
Sunday, September 5, is International Day of Charity, a day to honor Mother Teresa’s tireless work to help overcome poverty and suffering. We hope this gives you the chance to think about doing something that day, later this month, or in the month ahead!
We all know that giving to charity benefits the recipients, but did you know giving to charity is also good for your health?
- Makes you feel happy. Your brain’s pleasure circuits release endorphins and oxytocin which gives you a sense of euphoria and inner peace. It also reduces depression and anxiety.
- Reduces stress and blood pressure (BP). Stress causes many health issues and lowering you BP promotes longer life and better health.
- Promotes social connection. Studies show that when you give to others, your generosity is often continued down the line to someone else — strengthening our ties to each other.
- Is contagious. When one person gives, it inspires others to do the same.
There are many fun ways to give back now or any time through the end of October:
- Donate your time
- Do something nice for a neighbor or a random act of kindness for a stranger
- Help a child in need
- Volunteer at a senior center
- Plant a tree
- Disaster Relief
- Recognize those who serve
- Spread Good News – Make #GivingTuesday a weekly thing by signing up for the GoodNewsletter. Every week, you’ll receive an email with five happy things happening in the world, which you can share on social media. You’ll be giving the gift of good news in a world so often inundated with the bad.
- Donate to holiday food drives
- Support your local farmers
- Donate blood – Give the gift of life by donating blood through the American Red Cross. It only takes around an hour to give a valuable resource that can help save lives during medical procedures or a medical emergency.
- Become a volunteer fire fighter
- Join a community garden
- Help build a home for someone in need or help with home repairs for someone in need – Give back to the disadvantaged residents in your community or neighboring town by helping to build a roof over their heads. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity are always looking for hands-on help from volunteers for construction, but they also accept donations of furniture, appliances and other housewares for outfitting the homes of those in need.
- Become a Big Brother or Big Sister – Volunteer with a community-based mentorship program like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Operating in communities across the U.S., these programs are integral to changing the lives of youth in search of a role model and can help create a more connected community.
- Organize a community clean-up
- Sponsor a youth sports team – coach a youth sports team
- Donate clothes that you no longer need – Have a dress or gently worm blouse that you no longer wear? Instead of throwing out clothes, give them a second life and a new home. Dress for Success is an amazing not-for-profit organization that empowers women by providing them with professional attire and the support they need to enter the workforce.
- Participate in a local fundraiser walk or race
- Tutor s student (s) – Help a student at your local high school prepare for an upcoming exam or the SAT. Or, enroll in a program like Minds Matter, which pairs adult tutors with students from low-income families to help them succeed academically.
- Serve meals at the local food bank
- Write a letter to a soldier – All it takes is a few kind words to lift the spirits of a soldier. Operation Gratitude is a nonprofit that encourages Americans to write letters thanking these men and women for their service.
- Become an organ donor – In just a few minutes, you can register online to become an organ and tissue donor with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. One day, you could save the life of someone currently in need of an organ transplant.
United Nations. (2021). International day of charity. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/en/observances/charity-day