Those familiar with my blog postings know well that I am a firm believer in volunteerism. The whole foundation and path of the GCGI has been nothing but a journey in and for volunteerism and volunteering for the common good* (See below for more).

The other day I came across a wonderful article which includes the results of a scientific research and study on the benefits of volunteerism, both physical and emotional, which I very much wish to share with you. It goes a long way to support and verify my claim on the wisdom and benefits of volunteerism.

In the said article the author-Dr. Stephen Post- sites the 2010 Do Good Live Well Survey, released by United Healthcare and Volunteer Match, based on a survey of 4,500 American adults. 41 percent of Americans volunteered an average of 100 hours a year. 68 percent of those who volunteered reported that volunteering made them feel physically healthier. Moreover,

89% report that "volunteering has improved their sense of well-being"

73% agree that "volunteering lowered their stress levels"

92% agree that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose in life

72% characterize themselves as "optimistic" compared to 60% of non-volunteers

42% of volunteers report a "very good" sense of meaning in their lives, compared with 28% of non-volunteers

96% said volunteering made them "feel happier"

I very much encourage you to read Dr. Post’s article (noted below). However, before concluding this posting, I wish to continue with the following questions:

So how does the love of others change us? How are we changed when we extend active love?

“First, when so engaged we are freed from preoccupation with the self and its problems, with rumination, and with other destructive emotions. Disappointment and betrayal are unavoidable in life. We get sucked down into a negative vortex of bitterness, despair, and resentment. Simple acts of loving kindness can transform us emotionally. It is said that if you do not feel happy, smile anyway, and happiness will likely follow. The keys to forgiveness are acts of love coupled with patience, because with the passing of time our perspectives mature.

Second, life becomes interesting. Selfishness is boring. When we seek the happiness, security, and well-being of another in creative love the world becomes full and engaging. Sir John Templeton once wrote that it is impossible to be bored if you love your neighbor.

Third, loving others gives us a reason to develop our gifts. Students learn more when they have to tutor younger peers, or when they learn in groups and are responsible for teaching one another. Most great people have fine-tuned their talents in the service of the neighbor.

Fourth, we make deeper friendships. Our friends are no longer the people we just hang out with, but they are the ones with whom we find exhilarating common cause and commitment. Finally we have serious friends, the kind who are loyal and want to keep us on our course and true to our higher selves.

Fifth, loving others is a source of hope because as active agents we use our strengths to make a difference in the life of another, and we can therefore have greater confidence in shaping the future.  This is an active hope, rather than the passive variety that just waits for a surprise.

Sixth, loving others is a source of joy. Happiness is to joy as optimism is to hope. Joy, like hope, is not a mere innate disposition, but a virtue fine-honed through bringing creative goodness into the life of the beloved. Thus, we should not worry much about reciprocity, because the benefits are already there inwardly.  As they say, “pay it forward,” although a note of gratitude is nice.

Seventh, loving others, so long as one also cares for the self and its limits both physical and psychological, is associated with self-reported physical health”

Read more:

*Kamran Mofid, “Opening Remarks: In Gratitude for your Friendship and Support”

http://www.gcgi.info/2012-oxford-papers/298-opening-remarks-in-gratitude-for-your-friendship-and-support

*Kamran Mofid, “Why Love, Trust, Respect and Gratitude Trumps Economics”

http://www.gcgi.info/blog/177-why-love-trust-respect-and-gratitude-trumps-economics

Stephen Post, “How Does Love of Others Change Us?”

https://www.bigquestionsonline.com/content/how-does-love-others-change-us

Press Release: Volunteering Reduces Risk of Hypertension In Older Adults, Carnegie Mellon Research Shows (Thursday, June 13, 2013)

http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2013/june/june13_volunteeringhypertension.html

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