Volunteers are Happier and Healthier

Those Who Serve Others
Happier, Healthier, and more Prosperous

“Research has proven that if you want to be happy, forget yourself and serve others.   People who volunteer and give become happier as a result, because the key to happiness is to labor for the happiness of others.  That acquired happiness then lowers the level of stress hormones in our brain and contributes to a longer, healthier life.  Those who feel happy are also more productive, effective and successful; therefore, happiness becomes the secret to success and prosperity

“Our brains are actually wired to serve others.  When we give charitable money and service to others, our brain releases several stress hormones which elevate our mood and cause us to feel happy.  Serving and giving help to others makes us happier, healthier, more prosperous, and therefore greatly blessed and more successful than non-givers.

“You will hear in the coming days…that if our country were doing what it should be doing for people in need, then we wouldn’t need private giving; that the government would be taking care of people who need it, and that we would not need you to step in to provide for others.  I am here to tell you, having looked at the data, that the day the government takes over for you in your private charity is the day we get poorer, unhappier, and unhealthier.  We must demand to take our place as givers and support the communities and people who need the services we can provide.”  (Arthur C. Brooks, BYU Forum, February 24, 2009) 

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor:  the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble…and he shall be blessed upon the earth.”  (Psalms 41:1-3) 

Those Who Serve Others Are


Something miraculous happens when we focus our energies on lifting the burdens of others—our own burdens diminish!  Service lifts us out of our own occasional loneliness, depression, greed, selfishness and worries.  While serving others, we begin to put our own problems in perspective; and suddenly, our own challenges seem a little smaller.  We become wiser, happier, and more aware of our own blessings.  

Gratitude is one of the secrets of happiness, because gratitude and happiness are linked together in our lives.  It has been said that, “Happiness is not having what you like, but liking what you have.”  Be grateful for what you have in life, and remember to thank God for your many blessings, including the small ones we often take for granted.

“In everything give thanks.”  (1 Thess. 5:18) 

True happiness comes only by feeling genuine concern for those around us and helping to solve their problems.  There is little joy in having possessions we do not share with others, or focusing all of our energy on our own cares, concerns and challenges. 

“Do you want to be happy?  Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause. Lend your efforts to helping people. You will come to know a happiness that you have never known before if you will do that. 

“Selfless service is a wonderful antidote to the ills that flow from the worldwide epidemic of self-indulgence.  The answer lies in helping to solve the problems of those around us rather than worrying about our own, living to lift burdens even when we ourselves feel weighed down.  
  • “People who give get happier as a result.
  • Happiness is the secret to success.  Charity brings happiness, and happiness brings success. 
  • People who volunteer are happier.  You simply can’t find any kind of service that won’t make you happier. 
  • Studies show that when people give, it lowers their levels of stress.” 
“If you want to be a productive person, work on your happiness.  Happiness is the secret to success.  Charity brings happiness, and happiness brings success.  I promise you this really works—either because of God in heaven, or because of our neurochemistry—but it really works.”   (Arthur C. Brooks, BYU Forum, February 2009)  

One study found that donating money to charity activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure.  That good feeling you get by writing a check to a charity helps people feel good knowing that they are a charitable giver.  Charitable donations seem to increase activity in brain areas called the nucleus accumbens and the caudate nucleus, according to a University of Oregon team of psychologists and economists.  (Chicago Tribune, June 2007, Brain-imaging study links charity, pleasure)

Those Who Serve Others Are


“Many other studies show that givers have better health, that givers are better citizens… Givers are healthier, happier, and richer in this country—and probably around the world.  Giving creates stronger communities and a more prosperous nation.

“There is a relationship between health and volunteering.  Those who volunteer (especially older adults) at least 2 hours a week have—
  • Improved physical and mental health
  • Greater functional ability
  • Lower rates of despair and depression
  • Lower death rates"
(Dr. David J. Demko, gerontologist,Corp. for National and Community Service (May 2007)  For more information, visit http://nationalservice.gov)

Those Who Serve Others Are

More Prosperous

“John D. Rockefeller, who was once the world’s richest person, was quoted as saying, ‘God gave me my money…I believe the power to make money is a gift from God…to be developed and used to the best of our ability for the good of mankind.’  Rockefeller believed that he made money because he was charged with helping others.  He honestly believed that if he stopped giving his money in the right way, then God would take his money away.
  • People who volunteer do better financially. 
  • The giving family will earn an average of $375 more in income than the non-giving family—and that’s statistically attributable to the gift.
  • Donations drive up income, and income drives up donations. 
  • Charitable giving is not just a great investment for you; it’s also a patriotic act for our country because it translates into jobs, growth, opportunity, and tax revenues.
“When people see strangers giving charitably, they recognize a leadership quality in those strangers.  If people witness you as a giver, they will see a leader.  Servant leadership is a secret to success, whether you’re looking for success or not.  When people see you giving and cooperating and serving others, they will see in you a leader, or a future leader, and they cannot help but help you.”   (Arthur C. Brooks, BYU Forum, February 24, 2009)

Andrew Carnegie, one of the wealthiest men of his time, thought that wealthy individuals should use their fortunes to aid society.  He believed in helping others to help themselves, chiefly by providing educational opportunities.  He donated much of his $500 million to various worthy causes, and made the following statement:

Law of the Accumulation of Wealth
“We are to consider all surplus revenues which
come to us simply as trust funds
which we are called upon to administer
in the manner in which in our judgment
is best calculated to produce
the most beneficial results for the community. 
Thus, a man of wealth becomes a mere
agent and trustee for his poorer brethren." 
Andrew Carnegie  (1835-1919)

When man begins to lose his faith and trust in God, he looks for another God, a false God, and begins to put his faith and trust in material things which are more visible and immediately at hand. (Daniel 5:23)   He worships his possessions and wealth and spends his time acquiring sufficient money, stocks, bonds, investment portfolios, property, credit cards, homes, cars—all to guarantee a long and happy life.  He uses up these blessings on his own desires, and forgets that his assignment from God is to use these many resources to help his  family and neighbors, to serve those in need, and to serve the Lord. 


“He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack:
but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.”
(Proverbs 28:27)