People in recovery in 12 Step programs know the feelings of doing 12th Step work (helping others).
But have you ever thought about how you are actually improving your health at the same time.
Many people don’t know that volunteering is just as good for your health as it is for the ‘new comer’ and the Recovery Fellowship. The feelings of pride, satisfaction, and accomplishment that come with volunteering can boost your sense of well-being, reduce stress, and add years to your life.
Here are the possible health benefits of volunteering for 12th Step work:
Lower mortality rates:
Volunteering has been linked to lower mortality rates in adults. Perhaps this has something to do with the other health claims listed here, such as increased physical activity, reduced stress, and renewed sense of purpose. Those who stay active and have low stress levels may be less likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other deadly health conditions.
Increased physical activity:
Volunteering assignments that include physical activity like cleaning up parks, playing with kids, and walking dogs are all opportunities to break a sweat and burn calories. This increase in activity, combined with regular exercise, is a great way to stay healthy and keep the weight off.
Helping others can dramatically change the way you feel. Many volunteers often report feeling happier and more alive after giving back to their community. The social interactions and sense of accomplishment you experience while volunteering can enhance your sense of well-being and boost your mood.
Giving back to others can do wonders for your stress levels. In order to get the most stress-relieving benefits, find a cause you actually care about and do something you already enjoy. This will help you stay committed to volunteering and reap the most benefits from your charitable contributions.
Renewed sense of purpose:
Helping others can provide a renewed sense of purpose in life. No matter how big or small the cause, your charitable acts are helping the world be a better place. Volunteering also gives you the opportunity to find an outlet for professional and creative skills that you don’t get to explore at work.
Increased social activity:
Volunteering provides a unique way to connect with others and strengthen your community. These social interactions can help you find new friends and strengthen existing ones. Having a strong social network can help you overcome feelings of loneliness and hopelessness and get back to being your positive, happy self.
Lower rates of depression:
Regular volunteering has been linked to lower rates of depression in adults. The physical and social aspects of volunteering can lead to personal sense of purpose and accomplishment, reduced stress, and reduced disease risk.
And in recovery;
Lower rates of relapse:
It has been proven that people who help people in recovery have a better chance of refusing that first drink or drug.
Lower rates of risky behaviour and criminal activity:
Risky sexual practices, DUI’s and crime are less with volunteers.
12th Step work and volunteering are essentially spiritual based activities.