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Volunteering feels good

Many hands united one over another by Nutmeg Senior Riders

Committing in a selfless way to share time, knowledge and experiences benefits the community, but also the volunteer himself: altruistic work favors personal well-being and improves resistance to work stress.

People who combine a paid occupation with a voluntary activity are, on average, happier, in better health and better cope with stressful situations at work.

Volunteering favors social contacts and increases personal satisfaction for achieving a relevant goal together with other people.

Numerous studies show that participating voluntarily in social work not only brings benefits to those who receive help, but also favors those who offer that service. People have been found to be happier and depression less frequent among the volunteer community than among individuals who are not socially engaged. Even those who work out of altruism have better physical conditions. This effect is detected above all in subjects who have been doing volunteer work for a long period of time.

Voluntary social engagement even dampens work stress, Eva Mojza and Sabine Sonnentag, from the University of Constanza demonstrated in 2010. The psychologists asked 105 active workers to write down, for two weeks, the activities they carried out in their free time, including volunteer work. They also asked the participants how recovered they felt at the end of the day and observed their work behavior on the following day.

The results showed that those who carried out some volunteer activity after work could better disconnect from the work routine. This recovery effect also had a positive influence the next day: they argued less about problems, paid more attention to their co-workers and listened to them more.

Now, is it volunteering that makes people feel more satisfied and less stressed, or is it perhaps the happiest and most serene people who sign up for volunteer work? Volunteering and wellness are likely to influence each other. However, more and more data are emerging that support the positive effects of disinterested social engagement.

Volunteering consolidates social cohesion and trust by promoting individual and collective actions, it also contains in its essence a substantial domino effect, since it inspires other people and drives transformation.

Volunteering is the greatest human and social capital we have, and it is the fundamental basis for building a critical citizenry, with greater social awareness, that influences the public policies of governments, makes the defense and enforceability of rights visible, all of this with the ultimate goal of generating social change and a greater feeling of empathy with the whole environment that surrounds us.

At Nutmeg Senior Rides we know the changes we want to make with the elder Americans and adults with visual impairments, and we’re always looking for people willing to make those social changes in order to improve and sensitize our society.

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Luisana Romero

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