One of the great privileges as an adult is being able to give back to the community or contribute to charitable causes. Every day, people and entrepreneurs donate money, products or volunteer to help others. Nonprofits are always looking for assistance, and giving to these organizations is not only positive for the community, it can also deliver benefits to your own health and wellbeing. 

Even if you don’t have much money to give someone, you can always give your support to others and, by doing so, it circles back to be good for you, too.  There has been research that has shown people who are more likely to give social support report reduced symptoms of stress depression.

Here are 5 more reasons why giving back should be a major goal in your life.  

Giving makes you feel happy.  

Spending money on yourself can fulfill a void for happiness in the short term, but spending on others can activate regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating an overall sense of happiness. Altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling known as a “helper’s high.”

Giving is good for your mental health. 

Research has linked different forms of generosity to better mental health.  In fact, a study published in the Oxford Journal analyzed the mental and physical health of environmental volunteers over a 20-year-period.  The results?  Some participants reported having fewer depressive symptoms after volunteering. 

Giving to others can also increase health benefits in people with chronic illness.  Whether it’s providing help to neighbors, friends, or family, giving back has its benefits. 

Giving is a great networking opportunity.

Volunteering brings forth the opportunity to connect with others doing similar work. For professionals, these connections can be an invaluable resource. People who donate their time to a good cause are able to engage and network with others in the community.  

Giving promotes social connection. 

Giving back promotes a sense of trust and cooperation that strengthens our ties to others, which is also good for mental and physical health. Moreover, when you give to others, you don’t only make them feel closer to you; you also feel closer to them. Being generous leads you to perceive others more positively and fosters a sense of cooperation and community togetherness.

Giving makes the community a better place.

Lastly, the most obvious benefit why giving back to the community should be a major goal for you is that it results in a better place to live and work.  Regardless of which charity you support, you have the power to stand up against issues impacting the community by actively collaborating with organizations.

It’s never too early or too late to start volunteering!