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Have you ever noticed how when you volunteer and help someone or something in your community thrive, you start feeling better than ever? You were likely working hard and doing something that wouldn’t normally leave you feeling great, like serving food or cleaning up a park. But you still feel unexpectedly happy.
Surprise! There’s a scientific reason for why you feel better after giving back. It triggers the rewards center in your brain, making you feel great and spurring you to be more altruistic in the future. But don’t worry, it’s not all in your head. There are other reasons you could be feeling so good.
Volunteering is a great way to reduce stress. It allows you to focus your mind on something other than whatever it is you’re stressing about. Combine all of that with the feel-good sensors in your brain going off, and you’re looking at some stress-free community serving.
Giving back to a community that you’re a part of often makes you feel more connected to that place. As a helper, you’re becoming a part of what makes the community great. And your work can even end up benefiting you in a direct way. If you clean up a park in your area, you’ll enjoy the benefits of cleaner space. It’s a win-win.
When you help others who are in less fortunate situations, it can really put your life in perspective. You may go back to your comfortable home and truly appreciate what you have. This could lead to a deeper desire to help others find the comfort that you have, and the volunteering circle continues.
You know what they say, people who volunteer together, stay together, right? Grab some friends and team up to volunteer for a cause, or join an existing squad of volunteers to meet new people. Our advice for meeting new people starts with getting out of your comfort zone and into an activity. Joining a volunteer group is a great way to help the world and yourself all at once.
If you’re looking for a great way to boost your happiness levels, try volunteering. It’s a serious mood booster and it can even be good for your career. There are a ton of ways to start getting involved — take a look at ASU’s VolunteerMatch for ideas on how to get started and give back.
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