Doing good is good for you

Did you know that volunteering can actually improve your health?

We are always keen to make people aware of the range of volunteering opportunities Broxtowe Women’s Project offers and hope to encourage a few of them to join us.

We explain to those who are considering volunteering that it can take as little or as much of their time as they want; that they will have the chance to learn new skills, to improve their job prospects and that they will make new friends. For companies, allowing their staff to volunteer can contribute to demonstrating their corporate social responsibility.

Despite the serious nature of what we do, there’s lots of fun and enjoyment too – ask anyone, for example, who came to our International Women’s Day event this year about what a great time they had!

But one thing we have never mentioned before when talking about volunteering is that it could improve your health.

We’re serious! We have found studies that prove when you stop thinking about your own problems and focus on someone else, your stress levels start to decrease, your immune system is strengthened and your overall sense of life satisfaction increases.

UnitedHealth Group commissioned a national survey of 3,351 adults in 2013 and found that the overwhelming majority of participants reported feeling mentally and physically healthier as a result of volunteering.

Their findings included:

  • 76 percent of people who volunteered in the 12 months before the study said that volunteering had made them feel healthier;
  • 94 percent of people who volunteered in the 12 months before the study said that volunteering improved their mood;
  • 78 percent of them said that volunteering lowered their stress levels;
  • About a quarter of them reported that their volunteer work helped them manage a chronic illness by keeping them active and taking their minds off their own problems.

And this was not the only evidence we found.

Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School have also looked into the link between volunteering and health. They analysed data from 40 published studies and found evidence that volunteers had a 20 percent lower risk of death than their peers who do not volunteer.

The study is reported to have also found that volunteers had lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction and enhanced well-being.

If you think about this, it does make sense. Getting involved in your community, linking up with others and making a difference to the lives of women and their children must create a sense of satisfaction.

For employers, a healthier, more fulfilled workforce increases producitivty and, of course, reduces sickness absence.

So why not do yourself or your workforce some good and help us?! Visit our Get involved page for full details or give us a call to find out more.