So helping others brings good vibes. But how, exactly?
Studies show that the “happiness effect” you experience stems from a release of dopamine (a type of neurotransmitter that influences your mood) in the brain, so the more you volunteer, the happier you become.1 Volunteering can combat depression, increase self-confidence and bring fun and fulfillment to your life 2 — it may even help you live longer.3 Very cool, right?
Of course, donating blood is a fantastic way to do this because you can save up to three lives in the process. Pretty amazing if you ask us. While you’re at it, your altruistic behavior will reward you with extraordinary psychological powers.
No, we’re not talking about superhero or comic book level stuff, but what you get instead may be even better! Helping people through volunteer activities counteracts the effects of stress, anger and anxiety; boosts your sense of pride and identity; and keeps you mentally stimulated.2 And let’s be honest: Life can be pretty stressful! So why not shed some of those negative feelings, break out of your day-to-day routine and enjoy a renewed sense of motivation?
As the cherry on top, supporting your community can lead to new friendships and connections. Maybe your volunteer activity exists merely as a milestone marker, or because you genuinely want to help others, or because you’re curious about trying something new. Either way, volunteering affords you an opportunity to meet many fascinating people — and sometimes, strangers become mentors, confidants or even close friends.
Blood donation in particular caters to a range of personality types, too. Quiet and reserved? Pass the time by watching a movie on your phone or listening to music on your headphones. Social butterfly? Bring a friend or family member along to have someone to hang out with during your lifesaving activity, or strike up a conversation with another donor.
Whatever you choose, never be afraid to change your life … or make an extraordinary impact on somebody else’s.
AARP. “Giving Back Helps Others—And You.” https://createthegood.aarp.org/volunteer-ideas/health-benefits.html
Segal, Jeanne and Robinson, Lawrence. “Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits.” HelpGuide. October 2020. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/volunteering-and-its-surprising-benefits.htm
Adventist Health. “Volunteering Can Help You Live Longer (Really!).” Jan. 17, 2017. https://www.adventisthealth.org/blog/2017/january/volunteering-can-help-you-live-longer-really-/