Want to boost your mood without diet, exercise, or pills? Perhaps, you should consider volunteering. In his article, “It’s Good to Be Good: Science Says It’s So,” Dr Stephen Post sites numerous scientific studies which prove that altruism may be a key component to overall happiness and health.
Many self-help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, are based around the “helper therapy” principle. People within the group sponsor and coach new members in the program to provide support, comfort and guidance. Why? Helpers who become mentors have less of a chance of relapsing themselves.
Furthermore, volunteering boosts your mood. MRI tests prove that people that volunteer get a “helper’s” high. “Doing good” does good for your brain too.
When it comes to volunteering, remember to pick something that fits you and your lifestyle.
Here are some ideas:
- Want to start walking, but can’t find the motivation? Contact your local animal shelter and become a dog walker. These pups are cooped up in a tiny space just itching for exercise. It would make their day to have a special long walk with a human friend
- If you like to play cards, maybe you could volunteer to start a poker game at a local nursing home. Don’t be fooled, there are some card sharks with years of experience under their belt looking to win.
- If you like photography, painting, dancing, or writing but haven’t found the time to work on your hobbies. Put your passion for the arts to good use by finding an after school program and become an art mentor.
Volunteering will not cure your depression, but it may help alleviate your symptoms. By focusing your energy and time helping someone else, you may be helping yourself.