It is very common this time of year to volunteer. Whether at the food bank, for your church delivering gift baskets, at the homeless shelter – anywhere you choose to volunteer, you will find great satisfaction in giving back a little in this time of thanksgiving and reflection.

We set out to give back in terms of our time and service as a way of saying thank you and to bless others as we have been blessed. But it also makes us feel good.

We derive great satisfaction and enjoyment from giving and providing service. I would argue that the more you give, the more you get.

Several studies have suggested that volunteering in one’s community can protect the brain from cognitive decline. A recent study from Johns Hopkins University used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to show that volunteering increased brain volumes over the course of two years, thereby not only negating age-related brain shrinkage, but increasing the size of the brain.

This is very significant, as age-related cognitive decline and dementia are rightfully feared by all of us. Helping to prevent it may be as simple as giving back to others in the form of volunteerism.

Do not stop giving back once the season is over though.

Keep it up all year as, at the very least, you will get a bigger brain for doing so.

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