It is known that volunteering helps in providing relief from anxiety, depression, problems related to blood pressure, helps in releasing social bonding hormone known as oxytocin and also helps in improving contentment. It helps in triggering dopamine reward centers in brain which is triggered usually by sex, drugs and good food.
Volunteering is known to help in exercising different sections of the mind and brain which are often neglected in our survival struggle. However, it is known that our survival is largely credited to our unique ability to work together with jobs like caring for sick, creating domiciles, hunting, child rearing and taking care of elders.
Considering our evolutionary history, it is no surprise that many people are anxious and depressed. Loneliness and social isolation are health risks just as smoking and obesity. Several Americans are now leading a lonely life in single dwellings with no interactions with the neighbors or even the community.
It is known that anxiety and depression are the two disorders which are inwardly focused. Such a focus is quite negative. It brings in feelings of isolation and separation. Those with such a disorder often feel to be useless and consider themselves to be a burden. With volunteering people feel more connected with one another. Individuals start feeling purposeful and optimistic.
This happens due to release of oxytocin which is triggered by volunteering. Oxytocin is said to be a brain chemical which is associated with ‘love and bonding’. It is generally released from cuddling a pet or baby or during sex.
Oxytocin is a chemical which makes a person feel good. It helps in reducing stress and also reduces inflammation. These are the two primary causes of depression in individuals.
Adequate quantity of dopamine is quite necessary so that we can get things done and feel our self-worth and fulfill the purpose of life. These are two things which depression often deprives individuals. Volunteering is known to release healthy dopamine. It extends to different areas of life.
Volunteering helps to take you out of your existence. Though you cannot simply do away with your sorrows, when you are compassionate about the struggles of other people, you will be able to see your problem in a healthier perspective.
Volunteering also has several mental benefits.
About Being Extremely Busy for Volunteering:
Many people mention that they are too busy for volunteering. However, if those who volunteer will mention that there is a paradoxical effect when one volunteers. Stress levels are lowered and the mood is boosted which helps volunteers in reducing the stress and chronic tension. Volunteering is known to calm down the mind. It helps in relaxing the muscles and helps with easy breathing.
Depression and Functional Medicine
Volunteering comes with many benefits for people suffering from anxiety and depression. It is also crucial to pay attention to different physiological factors which lead to depression.
Depression is now closely linked to a number of things which includes gut bacteria and chronic inflammation. It is also leaked to brain inflammation, brain health related problems and other mental health issues.
Such dysfunctions usually occur due to imbalances in blood sugar, sedentary lifestyle, food intolerance, nutrition deficiency, infections, autoimmunity problems and other conditions which antidepressants cannot work upon.
Get in touch with my office to know how you can get relief from depression and conditions of anxiety, with functional medicine.