Have you ever done acts of service with no reward in mind but to lend a helping hand to another human being?
If so, you may have gained much more than the emotional satisfaction for an unselfish deed. According to a study published in the American Psychological Association, you may also have extended your lifespan. This study revealed that people who listed altruistic values as their primary motive for being a volunteer were more likely to live at least four years longer than those who volunteered for their own personal satisfaction.
“This could mean that people who volunteer with other people as their main motivation may be buffered from potential stressors associated with volunteering, such as time constraints and lack of pay,” said the study’s lead author Sara Konrath, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan.
But it is more than that. Altruism or Volunteering has been said to strengthen the immune-system and activate emotions that are vital to maintaining good health.
The first step to making the most of your summer vacation may be to answer the question posed by Dr. Leo Buscaglia, – ”How can I make my world a better place?”
- Shrouded almost perpetually by mist that gives the mountains their bluish color, the Jamaican Blue Mountain range is an ideal place to participate in a true service oriented adventure. But, before you go, contact Global Volunteers and you may be able to combine the activities of painting a rural school or classroom, assist with the repair of footbridges or improve water facilities in addition to trekking through the many recreational trails with over 800 species of endemic plants, shower under crystal clear waterfalls or catch a glimpse of over 200 species of resident and migrant birds.
- How about a vacation that combines volunteer work with learning about a new culture and free time built in for you to visit local attractions, explore the culture on your own or simply to rest and reflect. For a short-term international volunteer experience, designed with flexibility and individual attention in mind that meet your need for giving back and a chance to savor your interests contact Cross Cultural Solutions
- If you don’t really want to leave home but would still like to incorporate volunteer work with a stay-at-home summer vacation to catch up on projects, spend quality time with the family and participate in around town activities, find a local adult daycare center where you can volunteer your help or expertise.
- Let’s take a Mexican vacation and help local communities refurbish school buildings and clear and create outdoor play spaces for the local kids through Volunteers For Peace (VFP)
- If you’re not sure whether you want to stay close to home or have an overseas cultural experience, Habitat for Humanity may be the answer. Volunteer teams travel to exciting destinations all over the world including the United States to advocate for better living conditions and raise funds to help those in need.
Opportunities for unselfish acts may be as close as your next trip outside your door.
How can I make my world a better place? Happy Summer!