a homeless person. Or who put his money in a jar for the
local youth group. Or who, in fact, did wind up buying a
latte – but for the person in line behind him.
Take a dedicated volunteer, someone who serves
breakfast at his soup kitchen every week, or tutors high
schoolers at an after-school program. Ask him why he does
it, and more often than not, you’ll wear him down to some
version of this statement: It makes me feel good.
Turns out, this isn’t modesty – or myth. It’s science.
One study, published in 2013 by Carnegie Mellon
University, found that adults over age 50 who volunteered
on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood
pressure. Another study, this one from the London School of
Economics and Political Science, found that helping others
increases one’s sense of well-being. A review of research from
the past 20 years, courtesy of the University of Exeter Medical
School, found that volunteering is also associated with lower
depression and a 22 percent reduction in the risk of dying.