Central PA's LGBT News Source

To be happier and healthier - volunteer


As an alternative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), social scientists have begun measuring the wellbeing of a country’s population. The indicator known as Gross National Happiness (GNH) was first published in the UN World Happiness Report of 2012.

GNH places priority on wellness and the ability to meet underlying human needs. Of the 150 countries examined, Denmark, Switzerland, and Iceland made up the top three. Of the world’s more populated countries, Canada ranked 6th , the United States ranked 13th, Mexico ranked 21st, Russia ranked 56th, and China ranked 83rd. Of the 33 GNH indicators, individual social wellbeing is found to provide the largest variance between the top five and everyone else, despite how wealthy a country is.

In Central Pennsylvania the most prominent ways to increase ones wellbeing can be found through diet, exercise, and individuals relationships. Participating in such activities increases the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine produces the sense of euphoria experienced after a vigorous activity that can uplift a person’s mood throughout a day. Therefore the more we are able to keep our dopamine levels high, the happier we will be over a period of time.

According to a study by Johns Hopkins University, an increased release of dopamine is found when you combine physical and mental activity. Across all sexes and ages, volunteering has the ability to exercise both the physical and mental side of the brain. This fact is supported by the Harvard School of Public Health which states that people who volunteered spent 38% fewer nights in the hospital than non-volunteers.

Volunteerism begins with the individual and can translate to greater energy, and feelings of self worth, along with decreased levels of depression.

Vision: A world where everyone has a decent place to live. Our Mission statement: Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. To be part of our non profit community or in-kind donations of skilled labor please contact us at (717) 545-7299. Also, see our website harrisburghabitat.org