10 Easy Things You Can Do to Improve Your Life by Next Week
A health journalist shares the best advice she's learned from doctors, psychologists, yoga instructors and scientists.
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Volunteer for More Vim and Vigor
If you've ever done volunteer work—dishing meals at a soup kitchen, walking dogs at a shelter, or reading to residents of a nursing home, for example—you probably noticed that you're full of good cheer when you leave. A number of studies back this feeling up, showing that helping others can lift symptoms of depression and improve overall life satisfaction. But the benefits don't end there: when scientists at a Finnish university analyzed the results of 16 studies, they found that people who performed volunteer work also reported better health and higher levels of physical activity. And, in an unrelated study, researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found that women who were 65 and older and volunteered—in this case mentoring public school children—were able to delay or even reverse cognitive decline, actually improving brain function. You're never too young or old to start volunteering: seek out a particular cause that speaks to you, and find a way to use your time and energy to benefit others.