International Volunteer Day falls on December 5. There’s no better time to look at how paying it forward can be good for you. By Zarelda Marie Goh
Photo: Oleg Dudko/123rf.com
Volunteer work is something close to my heart. Personally speaking, I find that carving out time, no matter how little, to do charity work, makes life more meaningful. In fact, one of my resolutions for the year ahead is to increase my time spent on volunteer work.
I’ve volunteered at various places over the years, and been doing so at micro-business school Aidha for six years now. The NGO empowers domestic helpers by providing the skills they need to start small businesses when they return home. The education they receive spans from money management skills to communication skills, which I teach.
It is important to find a cause that you feel strongly for. That would encourage you to make time to keep up with the commitments of the work you’ve set out to do. And there are many ways to give back. Ask friends and family for ideas, or visit the National Volunteer & Philantrophy Centre’s website at www.nvpc.org.sg for inspiration.
Volunteering your time to help others also has positive effects on your health. Here are just three ways it is good for you.
1. It helps you live longer
British researchers analysed data from published studies and found evidence that those who did volunteer work had a 20 per cent lower risk of death than those who didn’t.
2. It helps maintain heart health
A US study showed that adults over age 50 who volunteered regularly were less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who didn’t. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
3. It makes you feel happier
Volunteers are more satisfied with life. At least one study from the London School of Economics found that the more people volunteered, the happier they were. All that said, volunteer for the right reasons. Pay it forward because you genuinely want to and the health benefits that come will be positive by-products.