Helping other people by volunteering your time and talents is a way that you can practice self care. By reaching out and giving of yourself, you also gain. When you’re investing in the lives of other people, you’re giving yourself an outlet.

As you go through your day, you experience things that give you stress. These things can also add to your emotional burden and cause you to feel upset, anxious, sad, or even depressed.

When you volunteer, the act of reaching out to other people alleviates your stress. Many studies have shown that people who volunteer have a higher happiness factor than people who don’t.

One theory for the higher happiness level is thought to be because when a person volunteers, he or she has others around that help to combat negative feelings. When you give of yourself to other people, it causes the brain to release endorphins, which instantly improves your mood.

Some of the happiest people on earth are the ones who spend time volunteering and investing in the lives of other people. It can make you happy to see other people happy just because of something you did.

When you volunteer, it takes your mind off whatever negativity is in your life and helps you focus on the positive. When you feel like you’ve done something uplifting for other people, you end up liking yourself better and you view what you’ve done with a feeling of deep satisfaction.

This allows you to feel peace with your life and with who you are. For people who’d like to find ways to embody self care and choose volunteering, this can give them a sense of direction.

It helps them not dwell on the chaos in their own lives and by pouring out their own time and care, they’re getting that back – whether they realize it or not. When you volunteer, you gain a sense of community, which helps you not feel the weight of your own burdens as much.

Plus, it cuts out feelings of loneliness and can help you forge friendships. You reap physical and mental benefits when you volunteer. Your mood improves, your stress dissipates and that helps you feel better physically.

Studies have shown that volunteering can boost self esteem, and help with anxiety among other benefits. Places you can volunteer at include food pantries, animal shelters, nursing homes or with organizations that build or repair homes for the poor or elderly.