Why volunteering positively contributes to happiness
Why should volunteering have such positive effects?
To date, the mechanisms of the volunteering-health relationship have been understudied, but there are a number of potential theories. One such explanation is that volunteering boosts social resources, which in turn has health implications.
However, other theorists provide evidence that volunteering has additive benefits above and beyond the benefits of other everyday social activities. Volunteering contributes to a sense of deeper meaning (i.e. eudaimonic well-being) compared with other types of social activities – although other social activities may contribute to temporary and less meaningful aspects of happiness (i.e. hedonic well-being).
Other researchers have suggested that volunteering behaviour might prevent feelings of meaninglessness (i.e. anomie), with resulting health implications.
Interestingly, in the same study the results found that respondents who volunteered for other-oriented reasons (i.e. Social connection, altruistic values) experienced reduced mortality risk relative to non-volunteers. However respondents who volunteered for more self-oriented reasons (i.e. self-enhancement, self-protection, or career promotion) had a similar risk of mortality as non-volunteers.
This analysis clearly demonstrates the importance of motives in determining health outcomes with respect to volunteering.
– Konrath S, Fuhrel-Forbis A, Lou A. Motives for Volunteering Are Associated With Mortality Risk in Older Adults. Health Psychology 2012, Vol. 31, No. 1, 87–96. Read more
– Musick, M., Herzog, A. R., & House, J. S. (1999). Volunteering and mortality among older adults: Findings from a national sample. Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 54, S173–S180. doi:10.1093/geronb/54B.3.S173. Read more
– Wilson, J., & Musick, M. (1999). The effects of volunteering on the volunteer. Law and Contemporary Problems, 62, 141–168.
Discover more studies linking volunteering to health benefits
Volume three “The Why’s of Goodness” provides a different perspective on the normal issues relating to your health, in particular, why being generous is good for you after 60. Everything we do in life has some form of influence to our subconscious, and these are great examples, which not only contributed positively to ourselves but others. Chapter 3.3 focuses on generosity, volunteering, donating, helping others and more. Read more on Volume 3.
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