In the age of social media–particularly Instagram–it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the latest self-care trend. From bath bombs to meditation apps, self-care can be both exhausting and expensive. A recent report showed that the global wellness industry grew 12.8% from 2015-2017, from a $3.7 trillion to a $4.2 trillion market.
So, what’s the answer to increasing your sense of health and well-being?
It turns out, the secret to taking better care of yourself may actually lie in taking care of others. The path to personal wellness could be as simple as volunteering your time and talents.
According to Dr. Reed V. Tuckson, Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs at UnitedHealth Group and author of “The Doctor in the Mirror,” people who volunteer consistently feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Volunteering helps individuals:
- Connect and Socialize – Many people who volunteer develop new friendships as a result of their experience.
- Feel Physically Healthier – 75% of people report that volunteering makes them feel physically healthier. They are also more likely to say their health has improved.
- Strengthen Mental and Emotional Health – Volunteers have better scores than non-volunteers on nine measures of emotional well-being, including personal independence, capacity for rich interpersonal relationships, and overall satisfaction with life. Volunteering also improves mood and self-esteem indicators.
- Manage Stress – Volunteers are more likely than the average U.S. adult to report that they feel calm and peaceful AND have good energy most of the time.
- Find a Sense of Purpose – Volunteering helps individuals learn valuable things about the world and about themselves, gaining a sense of purpose from helping those in need.
- Feel More in Control of their Health – Volunteers consider themselves more knowledgeable about their health and chronic conditions. They are more likely to seek out information about their health and will discuss their health with their doctor more frequently than non-volunteers.
So, next time you’re writing morning intentions in your gratitude journal and drinking your Bulletproof coffee, why not Google volunteer opportunities in your area? You might be surprised what you discover.