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December 6, 2013

Happiness, Volunteerism, and the Holiday Season

How volunteerism could increase happiness all year-round.

Holiday VolunteerThe holiday season is known as a time for giving, spreading joy, and enjoying family and friends. Undoubtedly, when the “holiday spirit” strikes, people turn out to give back to their communities. Volunteerism is at it’s peak during these months. Not only are there more volunteers turning out during the holiday season, but there are more special opportunities to volunteer at food banks, toy and supply drives, and charity events.

So what is it about the holiday season that creates the urge to donate, volunteer, and spread joy?

The common thread here is happiness. Yes, happiness. Volunteerism has been known to not only increase the happiness of those who receive, but also boost levels of happiness in those who give.  It’s no surprise that holiday cheer helps to motivate the masses to get out and volunteer, but why not experience this joy all year-round?

Volunteerism has numerous benefits that promote happiness. Here are just a few:

  • Better overall health—overall, volunteers report feeling better mentally, physically, and emotionally. Researchers have found that people who volunteer live healthier, longer lives, on average.

  • Decreased levels stress—engaging with community members and feeling a sense of altruism has been known to lower stress.

  • Greater sense of purpose—people who volunteer become more engaged with their surroundings, feeling a greater connection to communities and others.

  • Increase personal development—acquiring new skills sets, testing capabilities, trying new things, and interacting with others.

With all of the positive benefits that volunteerism has to offer, we suggest making this the year of extended happiness and giving. You may just be surprised at the positive effects that volunteerism can have on your quality of life.

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