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How Helping Others Helps You Live Longer

How Helping Others Helps You Live Longer

If you’ve ever been involved in a volunteer program, you know how uplifting and fulfilling the act of helping others can be. There’s no other feeling in the world quite like seeing their smiling faces and knowing that you helped make a difference in somebody’s life. You know that serving the community supports those around you, but did you know it can help you as well?

Turns out, helping others can actually help you live longer. You heard that right: the key to a long and fruitful life might exist in what you give, not in what you get. So, how exactly does helping others help you live longer? Let’s dive into the science behind volunteering and the positive impact altruism can have on your life.

According to TIME, a recent review of the health effects of volunteering found that helping others on a regular basis—such as serving in a community shelter or working with foster youth—can reduce early mortality rates by 22%, compared to mortality rates for those who don’t participate in altruistic activities. The review was published in BMC Public Health and included 40 different studies. Here are a few of the reasonings they found in connection between altruistic acts and mortality rates.

Reduced Rates of Depression
Serving others through volunteering and charitable giving can actually reduce rates of depression and feelings of loneliness within ourselves. Helping others gives you a sense of purpose, pride and compassion knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life. In other words, by brightening others’ days, you can also brighten your own. And when depression rates are reduced, your mental health improves, thus boosting your physical health and helping you to live a longer, fuller life.

Lowered Blood Pressure
Not only does volunteering affect your mental and emotional health, but it can also directly influence your physical health. In a recent study from Carnegie Mellon University, published in Psychology and Aging, researchers found that adults over age 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure. As we age, blood pressure is a strong determining health factor, because it contributes to issues such as heart disease, stroke and… you guessed it, premature death. By helping others in your community, you can also lower your blood pressure and lengthen your lifespan.

Increased Sense of Life Satisfaction
In the craziness of life, it can be easy to get lost in your work, caring for kids or even maintaining a marriage. Through all this mayhem, finding a true calling and purpose is difficult. For many people, volunteering and serving in the community helps provide a new sense of life satisfaction. Knowing that you can truly make a difference in another human being’s life—that brings a real sensation of joy. And when we have an increased sense of life satisfaction overall, each day brings with it a new feeling of purpose and fulfillment.

Expanded Social Connections
Finally, the more you volunteer, the more likely you are to interact with other people. These people can be completely new and different to those already in your social circle, and help expand your current sense of social connections. To put it simply: when you volunteer, you can also make new friends. And study after study has shown that as we age, social connections are a vital component in maintaining our vitality and living longer. By getting involved in the community, your broaden your circle of peers and bring in new avenues for social interactions.

While helping others definitely makes a difference in the community, it can also help you, too. Through reduced rates of depression, lowered blood pressure, increased sense of life satisfaction and expanded social connections, volunteering can actually help you live longer. See how you can get involved in a cause you care about in the community and live a happier, fuller, longer life.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:

Dear Clients & Supporters,

As you may have heard, our office in Pueblo was maliciously vandalized by an unidentified gunman, just after midnight on the evening of June 2nd.

Footage from our security cameras shows an initially calm scene, before what appears to be a man walking by nonchalantly, hands tucked in pockets, suddenly stopping and turning to withdraw a firearm. The gunman then starts dashing, firing shot after shot directly at our storefront.

This person and their weapon have caused immense harm. Financially, the estimated damage exceeds $25,000. The same bullets that shattered glass and pierced through walls have wounded our hearts. However, the cost of this emotional damage cannot be measured in dollars. If there is a silver lining, it’s that nobody was physically hurt - or worse. For that, we’re eternally grateful.

To be clear, this individual and this destructive act, are not linked to the Black Lives Matter movement or protests of any kind. Unfortunately, we believe this anger to be rooted locally in a conflict between a tenant and their disgruntled clients.

In the wake of the ongoing pandemic and riots spurred by civil unrest nationwide, we know things are uncomfortable right now. We know people are upset and hurting. We're hurting too.

As much as it pains us to board up these windows and doors and close our building, we have no other choice but to do so until we can get them fixed. Despite our office being closed, rest assured, we are still working.

While the need for our services grows, so does our need for your support. In fact, we need you now more than ever. Whether it's time or a monetary donation, anything you can do to help us continue promoting healthy, vibrant neighborhoods across Southern Colorado is not only sincerely appreciated; it's vital to actualizing our mutual goals as a community. You can make your contribution, securely and conveniently online at https://nwsoco.org/how-to-help/donate.html or to submit interest in volunteering please visit https://nwsoco.org/how-to-help/volunteer.html.

We want you to know, we will be back, and we will continue to fight for a better Southern Colorado. To get there, more of us need to change. Amidst these changes, one thing will remain certain: our commitment to serving you and the entire Southern Colorado community.

The pain we feel now will pass, just like the time we have with those we love. Remember to take care of each other. If this unprecedented time has taught us anything, it’s that we need each other more than we could have ever known.


SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:

A Message about Our Services in Light of Coronavirus (COVID-19) – UPDATED 06/09/2020

NeighborWorks Southern Colorado cares about the health and safety of our customers, staff, and community partners. Out of an abundance of caution, we are suspending in-person workshops and counseling appointments temporarily. We will continue to provide homebuyer education and counseling services virtually, and you can reach our employees by phone or email. We will not be receiving visitors to our office until further notice.

We are in the process of contacting customers registered for our Homebuyer Education Workshops or scheduled for an in-person counseling appointment to make other arrangements. If you need to reach us, please call (719) 544-8078.

We are monitoring the news closely and taking advantage of this time to do updates and upgrades to our building to better serve you when we re-open; we will post updates about our services to this website. Thank you for choosing NeighborWorks Southern Colorado as your trusted partner and first choice for homebuyer resources in Southern Colorado.

06/09/2020

Please take precautionary measures... Be safe and stay healthy

Our Impact in 2019

  • Attended Group & Online Classes

    1154

  • New Homeowners

    641

  • Dollars Invested Into Communities

    125,400,000

  • Dollars in Mortgage Loans Originated

    2,700,000

  • Dollars in Small Business Lending

    150,000

  • Homes Built & Sold

    5

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