Danica Patrick: Want to be healthier? Help someone else

June 28, 2016 | by Danica Patrick

It’s impossible to walk away from an event where you’ve helped somebody (especially if it involves kids) feeling angry or bitter.

There’s something about shifting your focus off yourself and onto others in a positive way that lifts the dark clouds.

Giving of yourself -- helping someone or using your own experiences to inspire others -- is selfless, yet it boosts our mental and physical health.

Studies have shown that people who volunteer experience physical benefits such as weight loss, lower cholesterol and a decreased risk of high blood pressure.

Studies also suggest a mental benefit to volunteering. By creating a sense of purpose, volunteering eases us out of depression and stress.

The key is being genuine. If you want to help others, you’ll reap the benefits. If you’re only thinking of yourself the whole time, you won’t get much out of it.

Maybe you would like to help out, but feel like you don’t have the motivation or the time. Take it from me – you should make time. I do. And I find that giving back can be really fulfilling both mentally and in your heart.

Recently, I went to an event for a fellow driver who supports cancer research and we painted with young cancer survivors (that's where this photo was taken). I almost didn’t go because I was tired (more like exhausted), but I’m SO glad I went.

We made those kids’ day and it was such a fun event. You feel humbled after something like that. You come away from it with an attitude of gratitude.

That change in attitude is a healthy one. When you really focus in on helping someone else, you aren’t thinking about your problems or feeling the anxiety or stress from your own life. And the less anxiety and mental stress you feel, the better you’ll feel physically.

Volunteering is worth your time. You’ll help others – and yourself!

Want to help others at the hospital? Learn more about our Healthy Driven volunteer opportunities.

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