Sponsored Post  What’s this?

The helper’s high: The benefits of volunteering are more powerful than you think

For centuries, the most influential thinkers have suggested that happiness is found in helping others. And, as it turns out, this Kumbaya mentality isn't just empty words: the wisdom is increasingly supported by both scientific and sociological research, which substantiates the body, mind, and spirit benefits of volunteerism.

By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have proven that being helpful to others releases dopamine—the "feel-good" chemical—in our brains and lights up the same part of the brain as receiving rewards or experiencing pleasure. It's called the "the helper's high." So, in essence, humans are hard-wired to give to others: It's rooted in biology.

Recent studies have confirmed that when we serve others, we actually also help—and heal —ourselves. The Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences is one of the first to examine peer-reviewed evidence regarding the psychosocial health benefits of volunteering, where they found that it can help reduce depression and is linked to better overall health and longevity.


Why? Helping others can counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety because of the meaningful connection that comes from it. It can also make you feel better about yourself by boosting self-confidence.

News Roundups

Catch up on the day's news you need to know.

Similarly, helping others can decrease the feelings of loneliness, which has become nothing short of an epidemic in America. A recent study reported that nearly one-half of adults some­times or always feel alone, putting them at risk for developing a range of physical and mental illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and depression.

Of course, volunteering isn’t just good for you, it’s good for the community. “In addition to being blessed with big growth and prosperity, Dallas is also challenged by big needs,” says Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Poverty, homelessness, hunger and health, and educational disparities are also part of the North Texas landscape—but we believe we have the collective will, resources, and know-how to take on these issues and make our community better. Volunteering is a big part of that.”


So where do you start? Start with your areas of interest. “Whether you’re serving meals, helping young kids read, tutor­ing older kids-or anything else—it all makes a big impact.” says Frito-Lay CEO Steven Wllllams. “Frito-Lay and PepsiCo are committed to the success of the community initiative, we believe we can strengthen our entire community and help all of our neighbors thrive.”

You can find volunteer opportunities with Southern Dallas Thrives, United Way, and many others at FWD>DFW In partnership with VOMO, a volunteer manage­ment platform, have launched a resource that provides compre­hensive lists of community service options throughout North Texas (and beyond), sorted by affinity and type.

"I am convinced that almost everyone wants to connect, to give, and to make a difference. But they don't always know how to do so," added Sampson. "That's why I'm so excited about what FWD>DFW is doing for our community with this new volunteer platform."


FWD>DFW, together with VOMO, takes the guesswork out of figuring out where to find the need and how to sign up to help. You can even track your hours for school or work—or just to see the economic impact you're making in our community. Think of It as your one-stop-shop for serving others.

"The simple act of volunteerism moves our community for­ward—and that's why I'm focused on emphasizing this cause through the power of FWD>DFW and The Dallas Morning News," said Grant Moise, president and publisher of The Dallas Morning News.

The moral of the story? If you want to feel good, go out and do some good.