Can Volunteering Benefit Your Health?

Middle aged man outside picking up trash volunteering
Written by Risa Schulman
clock-line icon
3 minutes

Health Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteering is usually considered good for your soul, but new research shows that it’s good for your health, too. Explore some of the top health benefits of volunteering and get inspired to give back. We even included volunteering ideas you can do from your very own home!

May Help You Deal With Stress

Although volunteering won’t make your everyday stressors disappear, research indicates volunteering may help keep the negative effects of stress at bay. In a 2019 study, researchers found that on days that individuals volunteered, they were less emotionally affected by daily stressors. 1 By reducing your reactivity to stress, volunteering may help you reduce the physiological and psychological effects of stressful situations.2

READ MORE: 5 Ways To Help Relieve Your Stress

Improve Working Memory & Cognitive Functioning

Social and physical activity is often associated with cognitive benefits. Volunteering provides social, physical, and mental stimulation, which can reduce your risk for cognitive decline. Research shows that regular volunteering could help strengthen your working memory and processing and is associated with lower rates of self-reported cognitive issues. 3,4

Could Reduce Your Risk Of High Blood Pressure

Some research shows that high rates of volunteerism (over 200 hours a year) is associated with a lower risk of developing high blood pressure. In one study, individuals who volunteered about 4 hours power week were 40% less likely to develop high blood pressure over a 4-year span than non-volunteers.5

Strengthen Your Sense Of Community

Volunteering allows you to meet people who share your passions. By regularly volunteering, you can grow deep friendships and enhance your social support network. Strengthening your relationships can have a positive impact on your health and has been linked to improved physical health. 6

Support Your Mental Health

In addition to improving your social and physical health, volunteering is associated with improved mental health. Not only is volunteering positively associated with a greater life satisfaction, but it’s also correlated to lower levels of depression regardless of socio-demographic factors.7

How To Volunteer From Home

Thanks to new technology and the rise of virtual events, you may be able to give back without leaving your home. To get started, research a few causes you feel passionate about to find some volunteer opportunities. Once you’ve found an organization you’d like to support, contact them to see how you can help and if you can get involved virtually. For example, you may be able to:

  • Coordinate a virtual fundraiser
  • Pack donation bags
  • Use your crafting skills to create items like blankets, pillowcases, or masks
  • Volunteer for a crisis hotline

Healthy living is more than eating right and exercising. From improving your health to growing your support network, volunteering offers numerous health benefits and can be an important part of a healthy life. For more ideas on how to live a well-balanced life, take our free personal wellness assessment.

Written by:

Risa Schulman


Risa Schulman, Ph.D. has been helping companies and people build wellness for 25 years.










Connect With Us

As seen in:

  • ABC Logo
  • The Dr. OZ Show Logo
  • Fox Logo
  • Whole Foods Magazine Logo
  • CBS Logo