Volunteering has many benefits. The social interaction makes people feel connected to others, which staves off loneliness and depression. Volunteering also makes people feel effective, because they’re making a difference in others’ lives. In addition, volunteering boosts self-esteem, and it can lift mood. Volunteering is also associated with healthy outcomes, such as lower blood pressure, increased well-being, and a reduction in the risk of dying. It’s unclear exactly how much time one must volunteer to boost health. Studies have noted benefits from 100 to 200 hours per year.
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