Want to live longer? Volunteer your time
People who volunteer may live longer than those who don’t, as long as their reasons for volunteering are to help others rather than themselves, suggests new research published by the American Psychological Association. The study was the first to prove that volunteers’ motives can have a significant impact on life span. People who said they volunteered for their own personal satisfaction had the same mortality rate as people who did not volunteer at all, according to the study.
Researchers say this means that people who volunteer selflessly may be buffered from potential stressors associated with volunteering, such as time constraints and lack of pay. They say it’s reasonable for people to volunteer because of benefits to the self; however, the research implies that should these benefits to the self become the main motive for volunteering, they may not actually see those benefits.