An estimated 1 in 5 people have some form of mental illness.
Furthermore, 1 in 25 struggle with a severe mental health disorder that can make day-to-day living seem almost impossible.
If you are struggling with your mental health or living with a mental health disorder, then you might be interested to know how giving something back can help you feel better about yourself and your life.
Here are five ways that giving back can benefit your mental health.
1. You experience a dopamine release
When you do something good for someone else, such as help a friend with a problem, look after an unwell family member, or donate to charity, your body releases dopamine into your bloodstream. Often referred to as the “helper’s high”, this hormone makes you feel happy and content, which can contribute to better mental health.
Also, if you choose to give something back as a business, then you can enjoy the perks of year-end giving, which will release even more of that lovely dopamine!
2. You get more life satisfaction
Studies have shown that people who give something back to their local community or who regularly donate to a national charity have greater life satisfaction than those who don’t.
More specifically, people who give to others or who perform random acts of kindness experience better moods and are less likely to be affected by poor mental health.
3. You can combat symptoms of depression
Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health illnesses in the United States, with around 21 million adults having had at least one major depressive episode.
If you struggle with depression, then volunteering could be just what you need to combat your symptoms and make life more enjoyable. Research shows that people who volunteer on a regular basis are less likely to suffer from depression and experience fewer depressive symptoms.
4. You can lower your stress levels
Although a little bit of stress is good for the mind and body, too much can have seriously detrimental effects, including high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and insomnia.
For those who suffer from high levels of stress, giving something back can help you relax and funnel your frustrations into something worthwhile. For optimal results, look for something that you are really passionate about.
5. You can combat loneliness
Many people who struggle with their mental health also experience frequent feelings of loneliness. This is especially true for those who are retired, unemployed, or who work from home.
While it is all too easy to fall into the trap of doing nothing, this is not good for your mental health. If you are not great at meeting new people, then volunteering offers the perfect solution.
Whether you choose a weekly meet-up with a local charitable organization or you prefer to help as and when it is needed, the simple act of volunteering can do wonders for your mood and overall mental health.