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Dr. Lipoff: The Benefits of Helping Others

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” Booker T. Washington

What are the Benefits of Volunteering?

Many people do nice things for other. People donate toys for Toys for Tots, groups like Hunter’s Heroes and Always Fighting for Kayla travel to area hospitals and bring presents, the Grill Sergeant brings his food truck and feeds the nurses and staff at Children’s Hospital on Christmas Day, and there are clothing and food drives for the needy.

What’s in it for you? Well that isn’t the reason we do nice things for others but there are some pretty cool benefits of helping out your fellow man, woman and child.
Here’s a list of benefits:

Positive Experience for all Ages - Middle and high school students had an increase in:
• Personal and social responsibility
• Communication and sense of educational competence
• Were more socially competent
• Increased self-esteem and fewer behavioral problems
• Were more likely to treat each other kindly
• Help each other and cared about doing their best
• More likely to be engaged in a community organization and to vote 15 years after
• Increased their political attentiveness, political knowledge and desire to become more politically active
• Feel that they can “make a difference”
• Higher scores on the state test of basic skills
• increased their grade point averages and test scores in reading/language arts and math and were less   likely to drop out of school

Satisfaction – Volunteering was more satisfying for retirees than people still working

Pride – Older volunteers felt a sense of purpose and keep their identities as they formed new bonds with people.

Lower BP- Reduces stress in those that volunteered 4 hours a week. Hypertension decreased by 40%.

Increased Self-confidence and Accomplishment – Boosts self-esteem, confidence and life satisfaction. Gave a sense of pride to individuals.

Less Depression - Keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression.

Longer Lifespan - A 2013 review of 40 international studies suggests that volunteering can add years to your life -- with some evidence pointing to a 22 percent reduction in mortality. Seniors who gave 100 hours or more annually were 28 percent less likely to die from any cause when compared to their less-giving colleagues.

Physical and Mental Benefits – There are many.
• Lower mortality rates
• Greater functional ability
• Lower rates of depression
• Declines in their pain intensity
• Decreased levels of disability and depression
• JAMA Pediatrics found high school students had a drop in their cholesterol levels after volunteering with younger kids once a week for two months

Improved Lives - instill values, purpose and nurture development of positive personality and behavioral characteristics. Elderly were able to maintain their independence longer, had improved physical and mental health. (Herzog et al., 1998)  Older married adults had lower rates of mortality five years later, after supporting friends and relatives.

Happiness – Just 5 small acts of kindness like; saying “Thank You,” holding the elevator, helping someone with their groceries, etc., could be your ticket to higher levels of a hormone called Dopamine, which gives you the natural high feeling. "Each action has a cumulative effect. The more nice things you do, the more people will respond positively toward you, and the better you'll feel," according to Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside. Another study found those who volunteered more were happier.

Teaches Job Skills and Problem Solving - Volunteering offers you the chance to try out a new career without making a long-term commitment. It is also a great way to gain experience in a new field. Might also expose you to professional organizations or internships that could be of benefit to your career.

Stronger Communities and Connects You to Others – Position yourself as a leader in your town, make new friends and contacts.

Better pain management - Chronic-pain sufferers that helped others with the same ailment, reported feeling less discomfort. "People living with chronic pain can often feel helpless about their condition, but recognizing the positive effect they had on others in the same situation gave them a sense of purpose," says study coauthor Paul Arnstein, PhD, a clinical nurse specialist for pain relief at Massachusetts General Hospital. "In turn, that gave them more confidence to find ways of managing their own discomfort."

If you need another way to feel super good inside, you could always avoid paying our friends the IRS, by making a tax-deductible donation to Foundation 4 Heroes. It will help the Foundation 4 Heroes continue to inspire children to Be A Hero.

Dr. Jay M. Lipoff is the owner of Back At Your Best Chiropractic & Physical Therapy, LLC, which is located in the Wildewood Shopping Center. Dr. Lipoff is also the author of “Back At Your Best; Balancing the Demands of Life With the Needs of Your Body.” It is available in book and Kindle format at Amazon.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University in 1990, a Doctorate of Chiropractic (D.C.) from New York Chiropractic College (NYCC) in 1994 and he became a Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) in 2005.

Dr. Lipoff is an Executive Board Member, International Chiropractic Association Council on Fitness and Sports Health Science; has a radio segment: Back At Your Best in 5 Minutes or Less, President and Founder; Foundation 4 Heroes, Contributing writer, Huffington Post’ Co-Founder, Drug Free Training USA; Member, NY Strength-promoting the importance of physical conditioning; Board Member of Public Relations Committee, Maryland Chiropractic Association; has spoken on nationally broadcasted radio interviews, has articles in print and referenced in over 100 print papers, magazine and on websites, President, Wildewood Business Network-promoting better business relations and community outreach.

For more information, go to www.BackAtYourBest.com, find us on facebook, or call 301-863-BEST (2378). www.f4heroes.com, 844-F4Heroes.

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