Help others and yourself too

Help others and yourself too

Individuals who take part in volunteering activities live longer than those who don't, according to a study Lisa Antao finds out why. All of us know at least one person who volunteers with an NGO for a social cause. And you often harbour thoughts of giving back to society after hearing testimonies of those who are associated with such a body of work. Whether you're studying or are a working professional, everyone complains about the hectic pace of life and toys around with the idea of someday volunteering for a social cause.

But unfortunately, it's just reduced to wishful thinking because you think there will be an additional responsibility in an already stressful life. Well, here's a reason for you to convert your thoughts into action. According to a study, people who volunteer to help others tend to live a longer life than those who don't. We analyse why Homeopathy physician and stress counsellor Dr Yatri Thacker agrees with the study saying, "Volunteering is good for both the mind and body It gives a sense of satisfaction and achievement. Volunteering enhances a person's social network to buffer stress and in turn reduce risk of diseases. One experiences higher levels of happiness, self-esteem, a sense of control over life, as well as lower levels of depression. All this in return helps to reduce suffering of chronic diseases. More research is done to provide vital information about volunteering having a direct effect on one's life span". She recommends everybody to volunteer adding, "Volunteering helps combat stress. Also, it gives a sense of satisfaction by providing help to community, to make it a better place to live in."

Fashion designer and politician Shaina NC, who is associated with NGOs and social causes, swears by the benefits of volunteering. She says, "When you are in a position to help somebody, it gives you a high. The good wishes that people people bestow on you adds to your longevity. And when they do so, they mean it well, as it comes straight from their hearts". She advises everybody to volunteer for any cause that they feel for. Though monetary help is always appreciated, giving one's time is equally beneficial.

So now that you are pondering about giving volunteering a shot, are you confused about where to begin? Melinda Warty, 25, who works with the visually impaired, says that volunteering need not always involve helping an NGO or an organisation. "It could be as simple as working with the children next door develop a hobby or teaching your maid English and Maths. It could be talking to your elderly neighbours next door who live alone or who you may do a little shopping for when you do your own. It can help alleviate stress and certainly present the idea that no matter how stressful one's life is, someone else has it even tougher in other ways," says she.

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Dr Yatri Thacker

Dr Yatri Thacker is a Homeopathic wellness physician, Mental Health expert and founder- director of Baby & Me Programs, practising in Mumbai in the past 18 years.