I've read a lot of studies that suggest community service and volunteer work may prolong people's lives and add to a sense of greater well-being. If you do community service, what kinds of projects are you most passionate about and why?
Cause? Or Effect?. Is it really that volunteering makes you live longer, or is that the type of people who volunteer live longer? Someone who feels strongly about a cause, and decides to go out and do something about it, perhaps has certain emotional qualities that lead to a longer, happier life. I wonder - if a person who is normally apathetic and bored in life tries to volunteer because they think they "should" - will they receive the same benefits? I suspect it's not what you do, but the underlying attitude behind what you do, that counts.
Good point.. I agree that intention behind service counts, but then again, how many people you know are doing community service because they feel they "should"? A lot of the studies I've seen have been about people who have done community service over a prolonged period of time, and have a set amount of hours per week devoted to this. The idea that they live longer is a little suspicious to me, but I can see how an altruistic attitude may lead to a greater sense of purpose or well-being.
Helping Others is Healthy. I love helping others; especially when it is effective that gets results.
I also think, after your retire if you contribute back to your community you live longer versus settling down and doing nothing substantial but traveling and golfing.
I personally know of two retired couples. One couple, the wife if very active, helping environmental issues, education and the husband helps neighbors and family members. They are vibrant, active and clearly happy.
The other couple golfs and travels. They have more health problems and more silly worries than the first couple.
To me being active and helping is healthier for everyone.
Helping others is good for you too. I love getting involved in the community as much as I can, and as a previous post mentioned, I think it's important to stay involved as much as you can throughout your entire life, for both a emotional AND physical pick me up.
I especially love events that get you up and moving, like the American Cancer Society Relay For Life. I can't say enough good things about that event! You can find out more at www.cancer.org.
Another good project is home "makeovers" for the less fortunate. There are plenty of opportunities to get moving, lifting and more in your communities, I'm sure.
Serve Away!. I totally agree that service to others improves our own health. Anything that gets us out of our own problems is healthy. I like to organize fundraisers and events because I love to organize! But there are so many things people can do. Recently I've been getting interested in volunteering to create and maintain trails in public parks. Talk about healthy service work! Check local papers, churches, and Chambers of Commerce to find service opportunities in your area.
I love service too!. It's so cool to hear about all the stuff the rest of you are interested in and are actively doing. As for myself, my interests run the gamut, but I'm very much interested in arts and culture, so I've done everything from teach writing classes to inner-city kids to volunteer at benefits for arts organizations. I also read books to terminally ill children through the public library system, and I'm going to start working for a domestic violence crisis line. Working with women, children, and the arts are some of the things that really move me--sometimes, the work is stressful but the most important thing to me is that it moves me on a deep emotional and spiritual level, and ensures that I stay involved in my community.
As a disabled veteran with spinal cord injury and diabetes, I organize diabetes fundraiser events for my community, am a volunteer board member for a national veterans service organization and volunteer at my local VA Hospital, among other things. I stay as busy as possible most of the time and find that I am blessed so much by giving my time and resources for the good of others. I also purchase food out of pocket to donate to my church food pantry which serves those in need.
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