Reasons to be cheerful

Recently there have been news reports about a marked rise in depression in England with the recession being cited as a key trigger point as people struggle with debt and job worries. These are clearly challenging economic times but there is an antidote according to a new movement launched today - Action for Happiness.

Action for Happiness aims to shift our focus away from self-obsessed materialism towards a more caring society where we prioritise the things that really matter - especially the happiness of others.

This is where volunteering can play a vital role as our own research bears out. Last year we carried out a survey with 700 volunteers which told us that a fifth of respondents reported an increase in better health and almost a third reported increased self-confidence. Doing a good deed for others keeps you active too and you get to make new friends, both of which can lead to a greater sense of well-being.

Volunteering can lead to many positive outcomes. If you are not currently working a volunteering opportunity can help you develop new skills, boosting your CV. But just getting out to meet new people and trying new things can make people more connected, happy and confident.

The Action for Happiness movement wants members to make a simple pledge on their website: to try to create more happiness in the world around them through the way they approach their lives. So join the movement today and consider volunteering as a way to bring this pledge to life. Have a look at our Get Started section to get some ideas.