One of the best things about community service is that anyone can give back at any time. Students like to emphasize their time spent working with nonprofit organizations on their resumes and big businesses praise their employees for giving back to the community. However, volunteering does more than boost the resume. Scientific studies have shown that giving back actually helps a person’s physical and mental well being.

Volunteering can be defined in a number of ways. Giving back can be as simple as donating to a local charity during the holidays or spending time with others at a food drive. There are multiple health benefits you reap from giving back, including lower blood pressure and reduced depression symptoms. That gratifying feeling you get when you give back is actually good for your physical and mental health. Whatever drives you to give back, volunteering will provide a slew of balanced benefits to your life.

Kids who are unwilling but forced to volunteer tend to fare better than the kids who don’t volunteer. U.S. News reports that communities with lots of volunteers are generally safe and pleasant places to live, where volunteerism spreads to other members of the community. Electric Family is about spreading positivity and raising the social consciousness of our fans and the community we are involved in. It’s similar to the pay-it-forward concept that we hear about every day. When one community member performs a selfless act and someone else witnesses it, that singular act can influence others to also be selfless. When you give back to the people, you’re not only raising the social consciousness of others but you’re improving your esteem and personal development as well.

It might be difficult to initially become involved with volunteering, but once the cycle of “good” gets going it will keep going. Forbes research shows that volunteering just two hours a week can increase your mental health. For simply a couple of hours a week, you could be improving your social network while making someone else feel great about themselves. And charity work doesn’t help only kids trying to get in to college. The workplace is seeing an increase in employees volunteering on their own time and as a group to accelerate their careers and improve their happiness. On the employee side, stepping outside of your comfort zone and lending a hand to your community can open up opportunities to network with valuable people. Volunteering can also teach employees new skills in different areas that make them valuable back in the office. Forbes Magazine found that many Gen Y employees actually look for community service opportunities when they choose where to work. Smart companies are beginning to partner with a variety of volunteer service organizations in order to provide their employees an outlet for this specific type of need. This relationship between businesses and community service organizations works to benefit both parties. On the one hand, employees are able to give back to the world while on company time and nonprofits reap the benefits of large groups of volunteers.

So why is it so important for people to start giving back? The answer lies in gratitude. Despite how the phrase sounds, giving back can be a two-way street that benefits both parties involved. Nonprofits and community organizations are often understaffed and benefit greatly from the additional support a person can contribute. Even the simplest action of donating your time to an organization is greatly appreciated, and as a volunteer you will feel the gratitude. This gratitude is easily translated into happiness.

While some volunteer opportunities might have been born out of the mentality that we should all strive to do “good”, it’s the feeling of gratitude that keeps us coming back for more. Without that connection, it would be difficult to continue donating your time to a nonprofit organization. The positive connection is what ties many people to specific organizations and is why some volunteers spend all their free time giving back to their community. But doing good isn’t restricted to just volunteer work and community service. Every day, people can do good by extending kindness to one another and by spreading positivity throughout a community. The smallest actions can have the most powerful impact.

As individuals, we can influence positive actions to several people. Those several people can then influence a few more people and soon enough an entire community is moved to positive action. Humans are interconnected and in this digital age we’re even more connected than ever. We’re all equally responsible for the problems of this world, but we’re also equally capable of helping to fix those problems we see. It starts with a single action from a single person. Who will you inspire today?