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Volunteering and Its Surprising Benefits: How Giving to Others Makes You Healthier and Happier

Pat SicardPat SicardVolunteers offer vital help to people in need and worthwhile causes, but the benefits to volunteers include improving social and physical well-being. According to helpguide.org, helping others can reduce stress, combat depression, and keep you physically, socially, and mentally healthy. Most of all it provides a sense of purpose. Volunteering can be for a few hours weekly or more depending on other life commitments like work, caring for family members, or babysitting for grandchildren.

In addition to counteracting the effects of stress or anxiety, volunteering can improve your happiness. Researchers measuring hormones and brain activity have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense satisfaction and pleasure. In other words, the more we give, the happier we feel.

LifePath volunteer Ombudsmen visit residents of local rest homes and nursing homes on a flexible weekly schedule. Build professional relationships and feel purposeful as you help to make sure that the residents’ concerns are heard and addressed. WestMass Eldercare will conduct a Pioneer Valley Ombudsman training at their Holyoke office on March 25, 26, and 27 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Researchers measuring hormones and brain activity have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense satisfaction and pleasure.

Another feel-good volunteer opportunity is the SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) program that provides free, confidential, and unbiased health insurance counseling for Medicare beneficiaries. Volunteers work one to one with clients and are well-trained to identify the information and assistance that is best. The 2020 Spring Training is set to take place at LifePath in Greenfield from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a break for lunch, beginning on April 2. Participants will meet weekdays for 11 sessions. A graduation celebration will take place in June.

To discover more about these and other satisfying volunteer opportunities in the area, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., RSVP Volunteer Manager for Hampshire and Franklin counties, at 413-387-1286. For Hampden County, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., RSVP Coordinator, at 413-387-1296.