The health practice you might not be doing

More health-conscious women are giving time to a cause—and chalking it up to part of their wellness lifestyle. Here's why they say you should, too.
SEAK Foundation's Jocelyn Levy
“We are so conscious of how we look on the outside that we need to spend a little time taking care of what’s inside,” says Jocelyn Levy. “Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.” (Photo: Joseph Kuhn)

In addition to working out regularly, eating pretty well, and swapping out old-school skin-care products for non-toxic ones, more health-conscious women are giving their time to a cause—and chalking it up to part of their wellness lifestyle.

Jocelyn Levy is one of them. The CEO and co-founder of the SEAK Foundation says supporting a charity and “doing good” is part of one’s overall health and wellness. “The same way in which we are careful about what we put into our bodies and incorporate fitness into our daily lives, giving back and supporting a charity lends itself to our overall mental wellness. There’s no greater feeling than being part of a community helping to support a cause in which you believe in,” says Levy, who’s also a longtime supporter of City of Hope.

The practice of doing good isn’t new, but that it improves the health of the giver is. Some studies are starting to show that people who give time to a cause or organization, whether from altruism or other motivating factors, are happier than the rest of us. (Check out the work of happiness-scientist Sonja Lyubomirsky, and the Notre Dame “Science of Generosity” initiative.)

Model Julie Henderson Bent on Learning
Model Julie Henderson shares her love of yoga and its benefits with New York school children through her work with Bent on Learning.

Of course, many people want to share their health-promoting practices with others who may have less access to them. That’s the main reason Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and yoga enthusiast Julie Henderson says she recently joined the benefit committee of Bent On Learning, which is hosting its Spring Gala next week.

“Health and fitness is such an important part of our lives, and it’s great to see this being reinforced in the classroom,” says Henderson. “I’ve always been a huge fan of yoga—it’s more than just exercising. The mind-body connection from yoga is so powerful, and I love that Bent on Learning gives this opportunity to school children throughout New York.”

Thinking about which organization could be a fit for you? “Look around and really do the research before choosing an organization to support,” says Levy. “Selecting a charity is like dating in a sense that it needs to feel like the right fit for you.” —Melisse Gelula

For more information, visit the SEAK Foundation or Bent on Learning

Do you think about giving your time to charity as part of your health and wellness? Tell us in the Comments, below.

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