Volunteering is something we were all encouraged to do in high school and college to beef up our college applications or resumes. Your church may have volunteer opportunities and maybe you are in other organizations that offer time to volunteer. There are so many things in life that pull our time that often volunteering can fall to the bottom of the to-do list, but there are important social and health reasons to volunteer.

Creates Connection with Others

Despite all of the online connections that are available at our fingertips, people are lonelier now than ever before. An AARP study reported that one in three adults age 45 or older categorized as lonely. Online connections are great for maintaining existing relationships, but they are not very useful in making new ones. The act of working alongside someone in a volunteer cause helps develop strong bonds. It is also beneficial for strengthening familial bonds by sharing your values with one another. Volunteering is also a great way to teach children about the importance of giving back. Children who volunteer with their parents are more likely to grow up and volunteer in their lives.

Increases Longevity

It is well documented that people who volunteer are happier and healthier later in life than those who do not. It has been noted that in later life volunteering is more beneficial than diet and exercise for longevity. Volunteers remain physically and mentally functional for longer. It is especially true for those who have been volunteering their whole lives.

Provides a Sense of Purpose

The nature of volunteering is that you are working without getting paid. For some reason this provides a sense of purpose for those who choose to volunteer in their lives. It is not well understood why this happens, but a theory is that when you volunteer you are choosing to do so with a cause that is very important to you, so it gives you the opportunity to put your time into things that you are passionate about in your life.

Volunteering is not only important for organizations and communities who need people willing to donate their time. It is also a great activity to enhance real life connections and relationships and keep you healthier longer in your life.

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