Commentary: Volunteering reduces holiday stress, depression
November 28, 2008
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Looking for a way to assist others around you this holiday season' Try volunteering; you, too, will benefit.
Indeed, when people say there is nothing to do during this time of year - or they feel stressed or depressed - there's often a laundry list of resources, tools and ideas to help them combat the holiday blues, including becoming a volunteer.
As it turns out this, this recommendation is well advised. Research on the impact of volunteering on stress and depression - Giving Time Beats Stress, Make a Difference Day Survey - conducted in the United Kingdom, reported the following:
*Half of people (48 percent) who have volunteered for more than two years say volunteering makes them less depressed;
*71 percent of volunteers who offer their professional skills and experience say volunteering helps combat depression;
*63 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds say volunteering helps them feel less stressed;
*62 percent of over 65-year-olds say volunteering reduces stress;
*Almost one in three (31 percent) 18- to 24-year-olds say they have taken less time off work since volunteering.
Clearly, volunteering is an excellent way to give back to your community and to feel good during this holiday season.
Therefore, start thinking outside the box on volunteering and begin your New Year's Resolution now.
When you find a sport or hobby you like, share it with someone else who might benefit. Teenagers who join a Students Against Drunk Driving chapter, troops who sign up for designated driver programs and adults mentoring to teens at the gym or reading to children at school all send a powerful message to others.
The military community has an amazing group of young people actively involved in theater, sports and the arts. Take time to go watch the next play, a concert or game - and offer to help out. Involvement and mentorship to others, regardless of age, can reduce everyone's stress and provided a rare gift - the gift of leadership and the knowledge of knowing you had an impact on someone else.