Rabbi Hirshel Jaffe, known as “The Running Rabbi” says, “For over 20 years as a rabbi, before my illness, I had helped others through crisis. I was supposed to have all the answers. Yet when I got sick, I discovered I didn’t have them. I felt confused, frightened and desperate. My experience with serious illness has made me want to share with you what I’ve learned.
When my physicians noticed how depressed I was in the hospital, they said, ‘Be a rabbi—go and counsel other patients.’ I did, and my energy and zest for life came back.”
The following are some comments on the value of volunteering:
Volunteering increases self-confidence. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
Volunteering combats depression. Reducing the risk of depression is another important benefit of volunteering. A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times.
Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Volunteering is good for your health at any age, but it’s especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.
Help yourself by helping others.
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