WAYNE, NJ - Dr. Karl Menninger, the famous psychiatrist, was once asked, following a lecture on mental health: "What would you advise a person to do, if that person felt a nervous breakdown coming on?"

He surprised everyone when he replied: "Find someone in need and do something to help that person”.

In addition to helping others, altruism, volunteering and compassion is good for one’s own mental health.

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Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for the volunteer. The right volunteer situation can help a person to find friends, connect with the community and learn new skills.

The Cleveland Clinic adds that health benefits are associated with giving and volunteering, including:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Less depression
  • Lower stress levels
  • Longer life
  • Greater happiness

It can also keep the volunteer mentally stimulated and provide a sense of purpose.

Volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of a busy day. Giving in even simple ways can help those in need and improve your health and happiness.

Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection to another person in need, and by measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure!

Although social distancing guidelines during the COVID pandemic has halted many volunteer opportunities, many more can be found through searching volunteer groups in towns.

Try Wayne Volunteers on Facebook.

Remember when you are feeling down, try to do something good for someone else.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ― Charles Dickens

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This article first appeared in the Wayne Township Healthy Newsletter and was updated and published with the permission of the author, Colleen McGrath-Baird of Wayne Counsiling and Family Services.

For more information about mental health counseling contact Wayne Counseling and Family Services at 974-694-1234. The Office is physically closed, but the phones are monitored, and your call will be returned.

The NJ Coronavirus Mental Health Hotline: 866-202-HELP

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