If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s how important it is to take care of people who may need a little bit of help. Going out of our ways to make someone else’s life a little easier is one of the most selfless things we can do. However, giving back to others isn’t just good for those on the receiving end. Helping other people can actually help the giver in a variety of ways as well. You’ll reap tangible and intangible benefits from doing something out of the kindness of your heart for someone else.
Here at GreenDrop, we like to focus on helping as many people as possible, but we need your help to do that. The best way you can help us is to donate, whether through money, time, or items, and there are plenty of extra benefits to donating that you might not know about. We’ll go over how donating can improve your mental and physical health to show you a few more reasons you might want to get out there and help some more people.
If you ever needed proof of the connection between your mental state and your body’s health, take a look at how much stress can affect your well-being. Through countless years of research, everyone knows how detrimental excessive amounts of stress are to physical health. Stress puts a strain on the heart and, without a regular outlet, can lead to declining mental health. In response to stress, no matter the source, the body releases hormones that put it into fight-or-flight mode. These hormones can increase a person’s blood pressure and heart rate, and with heart disease still a major medical issue, that means we all need to do everything we can to reduce our stress.
Obviously, reducing stress is often a challenge, but there are some things you can do that are sure to relieve stress hormones. One of those things is engaging in acts of altruism. Charity work, donations, and other acts of selflessness can actually have a calming effect on our bodies. It may seem counterintuitive that focusing on others would reduce personal stress, but focusing on others instead of your own problems can reduce the effect they have on your health. Consequently, while it may seem like a small act, donating can improve both your mental and physical health by reducing your overall stress levels.
The Helper’s High
When we consider our mental health, we can see that altruism doesn’t just reduce stress; it increases overall happiness as well. You can see this in action with a phenomenon called “the helper’s high.” People often feel the helpers high after performing selfless acts that aid people other than themselves. It’s a rush of chemicals in our brains that result in us feeling happier—chemicals such as oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin.
The helper’s high tends to be a short-term rush, but it has lasting effects. It can improve our mood and make us feel more connected to those around us. Receiving more of those chemicals can even help to combat bouts of anxiety or depression. The chemicals themselves help out a lot, but the shift in focus away from inner turmoil onto other things that we have control over can help us feel happier overall.
Greater Social Connection
Humans, as a species, are naturally social animals. Even the most introverted person in the world needs human interaction every now and then. Even more than just interaction, a sense of community is important for good mental health. When we’re supporting a cause that helps others, it’s easy to see how donating time or resources can help bring people together and create that crucial sense of community we all need.
As more and more of our interactions take place online, many people aren’t receiving the social connections they need to feel their best. Going out and volunteering yourself for a good cause is a great way to meet people with shared interests and develop relationships that will keep you connected to a community. Even something as simple as finding clothes donations can cause a chain reaction of people working together and forming a new community that everyone can benefit from.
Sense of Purpose
As abstract as it may sound, having a sense of purpose in life is such a crucial part of mental health. Everyone has a different vision for their purpose in life—some are large and grand, while others are small and intimate—but having any sense of purpose in the first place can improve a person’s state of mind. Many people find their sense of purpose in giving back to others whenever they can.
Creating a sense of purpose isn’t necessarily a simple task, but those who have one tend to have a better picture of who they are in their minds. Knowing who you are and what you stand for could be the difference between feeling down and feeling happy. We at GreenDrop find our purpose in helping other people as much as possible. If you share that purpose with us, we would love to work with you through your donations.
The importance of gratitude for what you have is a concept many people are just recently discovering. In the same way that having a sense of purpose helps us understand what we want to do in the immediate future, practicing gratitude helps ground us in the present. Donating or volunteering is the perfect opportunity to start building gratitude for the things you already have.
An increase in gratitude helps to boost positive thinking behaviors and reduce negative mental spirals. Many different studies show how practicing gratitude and not taking what you have for granted can help you feel more satisfaction in life and even reduce your risk of developing depression.
If you feel like getting in on some of these physical and mental benefits, GreenDrop is here to support you. If you have a clothing donation in Essex, MD, that we can help with, give us a call or drop by our physical location to get started.