With the start of each new year comes reflection and resolutions. We typically reflect on all we did in the past year and resolve to change ourselves for the better in the new one. Many of us make resolutions to improve our health, pursue happiness or to be kind to others.

What if I told you that there’s one act that could accomplish all three?

The act of giving – whether you give your time, talent, or treasure – accomplishes all three of those aspirations, and it’s a resolution I hope you’ll consider for 2023.

Research shows that volunteering is significantly related to better health outcomes, whether it’s lowering blood pressure or improving the health of those with chronic illnesses, like heart disease or diabetes. Ample evidence proves that volunteering reduces the production of cortisol, or the body’s primary stress hormone that is associated with a wide variety of health issues.

The act of giving – whether it’s helping a neighbor or friend, volunteering or giving to charity – also helps improve longevity, leading to longer lives.

According to a California study, elderly people who volunteered for two or more organizations were 44 percent less likely to die over a five-year period than were non-volunteers, even after controlling for their age, exercise habits and negative health habits.

Giving to others also improves your mood.

A National Institutes of Health study demonstrated that when people give to charity, a region of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection and trust is activated; demonstrating a “warm glow” effect. Altruistic behaviors also cause what some scientists call a “helper’s high,” thanks to the endorphins your brain produces.

Most importantly, giving helps your community.

Making a positive impact in the lives of others strengthens the social connections in our neighborhoods and communities. These connections make us more collectively resilient and able to better recover when challenges arise or tragedy strikes.

While giving feels good, like many things, it may be challenging to figure out where to start. I encourage you to follow your passion and invest your time, talent, and treasure in a cause near and dear to your heart.

For example, I worked for many years in higher education before moving to San Diego. Supporting higher education is a passion of mine because I understand the impact a college degree can have on the trajectory of someone’s future. So, I have donated my time as a volunteer on the board of trustees for one of my alma maters and regularly donate to scholarships at various colleges and universities.

Hearing from the students whose life trajectories are better, stronger, and brighter due to my giving is a priceless moment.

Ask yourself, “For what am I passionate?” and then act accordingly.

With thousands of nonprofits in San Diego County alone, there’s a community-based organization that aligns with your passion. From there, simply decide what kind of commitment you can make and reach out to your charity of choice.

Alternatively, you can give to your local community foundation, like San Diego Foundation, and trust it to make a difference in your community.

Whatever you choose, I hope you’ll join me in resolving to give more to San Diego’s community-based organizations. May doing so bring you joy and good health this year!

This article first appeared in The San Diego Union-Tribune.