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Volunteering is Great of Good Health

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After an exhausting three weekends, the first my daughter’s wedding and then two weeks of the Festival at Sandpoint where I co-manage the Ice Cream Booth for the Panida Theater, I recognized many contributing factors to good health during stressful times.  I thought I would share a different kind of benefit for health – that of the positive power of volunteering.

The wedding was successful because all the family and friends attending jumped in when last minute details arose.  Everyone had a great time helping wherever they were needed and to make the event for the bride and groom as stress free for them as possible.  We all felt joy and camaraderie.

The two weekends of the Festival requires fourteen volunteers each night in the ice cream booth to provide tasty sundaes and cones for the patrons.  Our biggest job is to get everyone seated before the music begins.  It’s a big task and everyone works so hard.

What has been so apparent over the fourteen years I have managed this project is the number of volunteers that return eagerly each year.  They love working this booth.  Everyone brings a positive and happy attitude and it shows in the energy they maintain throughout the venue.  Even our “newbies” catch on quickly to the rapid pace and teamwork required and all have said how much they love participating.  It is not just for the Panida and to hear the music concerts for free, as we are located behind and beside the stage and rarely have time to focus on the music.  It is more about doing something good for and with others.

The benefits to health are enormous when we feel we are doing something good for ourselves and for others.  This happy feeling releases endorphins, our feel good chemicals, and lingers long after the event is over.  The shared experience includes making new friends each night, and most importantly, the camaraderie of working together and solving problems together for the common goal—having fun and getting out the ice cream.  The feedback we receive each night from the patrons who value how promptly they receive their ice cream further enhances all of our “feel good” chemistry together.  It’s a mutual “high” of the best kind—health promoting for body, mind, and spirit.

The benefits of volunteering for any chosen cause promote health and well being.  People love helping others; it is part of human nature.  We feel good about ourselves, the organization benefits by being able to provide its services and extend its outreach, and community health is enriched.

I recommend this health promoting activity.  Start volunteering, enjoy the natural high it provides, and let those “happy” chemicals flow freely and often for improving your health and well being.

Krystle Shapiro is the founding member of The Sandpoint Wellness Council and owns Touchstone Massage Therapies and Nutrition Plus!  She can be reached at 208/290-6760.

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