How volunteering can improve your mental health

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Volunteering can be good for your mental health.

When you help other people, it activates the reward center in your brain. It releases serotonin, dopamine and endorphins, which is why people often feel better after volunteering.

Getting active develops a deeper sense of purpose and meaning for people. It may also lend a new perspective on life.

Susan Albers, PsyD, with Cleveland Clinic, says you can begin volunteering by making simple gestures like donating food, taking out someone’s trash or shoveling an elderly person’s driveway.

“You can get your entire family involved in volunteering. It is great to role model to children that this is a great way to boost your mental health. It’s free. It’s an activity that everyone can do. It doesn’t require a lot of skill or time,” said Albers.

Psychologists encourage you to consider the time you’re committing to before actually signing up to volunteer. They say it’s also important picking something that is meaningful to you.