How do you feel after you volunteer for your local community? Those endorphins are usually running high for me not only while I'm volunteering but often for days. Often I walk away having gained more from the experience than what the organization gained from having me. So how does volunteering tie in with the Healthiest State Initiative? There are number of connections to our work as volunteering ultimately increases physical, social and emotional well-being.
Many of us volunteer to feel connected to our community or because we are passionate about a specific community cause. Studies have found that volunteering helps people feel more socially connected to a cause or even within their own community. This is important for those who may not feel connected with their community or do not have friends or family in their life. By volunteering you have the opportunity to meet and network with people you may not work with or are already connected with - ultimately expanding your social network. Also it's likely that you select volunteer opportunities based on our skills or passion without realizing that you will gain new skills as a volunteer. By volunteering it helps you build experiences with different types of industry, expanding your knowledge about organizations and/or issues impacting your community. The biggest health connection is that individuals with strong social connectedness are able to ward off loneliness and depression. Volunteering extends beyond social and emotional well-being as research has found that it may lower mortality rates, improve functional ability and lower stress levels.
In end, volunteering is good for your health and well-being and we encourage all Iowans to give back to your community. Our communities are only as strong as the people who share their talents and gifts.
Join the Healthiest State Initiative for the Give Back Iowa Challenge!