volunteering

There are many ways to improve your health; only one of them involves going to the gym. A holistic perspective on your “health” would include body, mind, and spirit.

Volunteering feeds the spirit, enlivens the mind, and can even help to keep your body healthy — depending on what you do. If you’re craving a break from the gym, or those Sudoku puzzles aren’t cutting it anymore, it might be time to take a fresh look at what healthy means.

Maybe you’ve tried volunteering before and just didn’t “get” it. The good news is that there are nearly endless options to volunteer.

If you want to marry a vacation with philanthropy, think about a traveling opportunity such as volunteering in India, where you can immerse yourself in a different culture. If you’re still on the fence, here are a few reasons why volunteering can be a health optimizer.

1. It makes you think

You’ll be faced with new challenges, asked to master new skills, and placed in an unfamiliar environment. Doing volunteer work requires something more of you, and that can shake up your routines.

2. It gives you endorphins

You’ve probably heard of the runner’s high, but there’s also something a little more elusive, known as the volunteer’s high. When you do something selfless for others, it releases endorphins somewhat the way exercise does.

This is a new way to get that high, which doesn’t just feel good but also “feeds” your body.

3. It makes you more appreciative

Appreciation is an emotion that makes you feel good and, in turn, inspires you to treat yourself and others better. It’s a positive butterfly effect that comes naturally when you volunteer.

4. It teaches you stress management

If you’ve ever been to India before, you know that patience really is a virtue and you won’t get anywhere if you (literally) sweat the small stuff. Putting yourself in an environment where things happen slowly, such as all that government red tape, might at first stress you out, but then you learn to deal with it.

5. Stress management

Speaking of stress, you learn to manage it really quickly when you have no other choice. This can be a sharp and tough learning curve for many, but it’s a necessity.

You’ll likely come back from your volunteer experience refreshed and equipped with new tools for handling daily life.

Who knew you could do something for others while improving your overall health at the same time? Those Zumba classes and lifting days might make your body look fantastic, but what are they doing for your soul?

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