Benefits of Volunteering for the Mind and Body
Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for the volunteer. Volunteering and helping others can help reduce stress, combat depression, keep people mentally stimulated and provide a sense of purpose. While it’s true that the more people volunteer, the more benefits they’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of the day. Giving in small or simple ways can help others in need and improve your health and happiness.
Benefits of Volunteering:
- Volunteering connects people to others. One of the better-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Volunteering allows people to connect to the community and make it a better place. Even helping with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals and organizations in need. Volunteering is a two-way street. It can benefit volunteers and their families as much as the cause they choose to help. Dedicating time as a volunteer helps people make new friends, expand their network and boost their social skills.
- Volunteering is good for the mind and body. Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger and anxiety, as well as combats depression. The social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound effect on overall psychological well-being. Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection with another person. Working with pets and other animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Volunteering keeps people in regular contact with others and helps develop a solid support system, which in turn can protect against depression. By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to give. The more we give, the happier we feel.
- Volunteering can help advance careers. Considering a new career? Volunteering can help provide experience in an area of interest and meet people in the field. Even for students who are not planning on changing careers, volunteering gives them the opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, task management and organization. Students might be more comfortable stretching their wings at work once they’ve honed these skills in a volunteer position first. Volunteering offers the chance to try out a new career without making a long-term commitment. It is also a great way to gain experience in a new field. In some fields, it’s possible to volunteer directly at an organization. For example, someone interested in nursing could volunteer at a hospital or a nursing home.
- Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to life. Volunteering is a fun and easy way to explore interests and passions. Doing volunteer work can be a relaxing, energizing escape from the day-to-day routine of work, school or family commitments. Volunteering also provides a renewed creativity, motivation and vision that can carry over into a personal and professional life.
Adapted from Help Guide