Being altruistic is inherently not about you. But as a nice side effect, when youre kind to others, your body responds in a very positive way. In fact, researchers recognize a biology of compassion involving the immune system, brain and hormones that can make you younger. In particular, helping others seems to boost disease-fighting antibodies, one possible reason why people who volunteer at two or more organizations get a boost in longevity comparable to that gained by exercising four times a week.
Need another reason reason to volunteer? It also just feels good.
Get started Not sure how to dive in? Check for opportunities at your church, temple or mosque; sign up for Big Brothers Big Sisters or any other group in which you can be a mentor. People tend to find greater meaning in activities that pass the torch to a younger generation, says Stephen Post, Ph.D., director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University in New York. Maybe because their involvement is so rewarding, 87 percent of mentors engage in at least one other volunteer activityand reap extra health benefits.
Get inspired Hearing about others volunteer activities can help you learn about opportunities that you never even knew existed.
Where to start The website doinggood.com has inspiring stories and videos - after reading/viewing, follow up by click through to the page that helps you find volunteer opportunities in your area.
Get together One thing that can deter you from volunteering is that it takes you away from time with your family and friends so what if you brought your family or a friend or two with you?
Where to start The website doinggoodtogether.org can help you find philanthropic activities suitable for kids and others.