Saturday, August 18, 2007

What You Get From Giving

There's an article in the September issue of Body and Soul magazine that talks about the benefits of giving. It's not a secret, of course, that giving time, assistance, counsel, money, etc. is a compassionate and noble thing to do. But who knew it could also cause you to live longer?? Consider this:

"In one study of 2000 people conducted at the Buck Institute for Age Research in California, those who volunteered for two or more organizations had a whopping 44 percent lower likelihood of dying compared with those who didn't--and that's after adjusting for ...health, exercise, and marital status. Volunteering even beat out exercising four times a week (30 percent) and going to religious services (29 percent) when it came to promoting longevity. Another study of 427 women found that those who did any kind of volunteering had better physical functioning 30 years later. Next to quitting smoking, giving is the best possible thing you could do for your health--making virtue truly its own reward."

Wow.

Of course, the trick is finding the time, right? So many of us run around for our jobs and our families and every once in a while, ourselves, that there's little time left to give to a volunteer organnization. I'm one of these guilty, ones, which is why I set as a New Year's resolution back in January to spend at least 20 hours volunteering this year. I know that's not a lot, but I figured it's a start.

And I found the perfect opportunity for me: an animal shelter about 5 miles from my house that's in sore need of volunteers to help socialize cats and walk dogs (they also have farm animals that need care, but since I'm not really experienced in that area I leave that to others...).

So I'm off this morning to give some loving to other animals, especially since my cat's recovery. I believe in karma, after all.

What about you? I'm interested to know who volunteers, how often, and in what capacity. Anyone want to share??

3 comments:

Jim Melvin said...

I'm also a big believer in karma. It's the driving force for all living beings. So it only makes sense that all the positive energy created by volunteering would benefit those who unselfishly take the time to do it.

Mom said...

Interesting that "Body and Soul" featured an article on volunteering. That is an area in which many of us retirees find a niche. Next week I plan to go back to the local SPCA to help out. Spent a lot of time there last fall, as you know, with the 275 seized cats! As a former teacher I have found a great deal of fulfillment in volunteering in young children's classroms also. When one gives, one always gets more in return!

Alice Teh said...

That's a really nice thing that you're doing, Allie.

I volunteer in my church as a writer (as ghost writer for testimonies, conduct interviews, etc) and photographer (baptism services, events, etc). Besides that, I also am a sponsor for a child in Thailand.