Have you ever volunteered in your community and found yourself feeling more upbeat the rest of the day? Did you even feel physically healthier?
According to statistics, there truly is a positive correlation between volunteering and your overall well-being. In fact, the United Health Group conducted a study in which 94 percent of people who volunteered over the past year say they had an improved mood, and 76 percent said that they felt healthier.
But I don’t have time to volunteer.
My life is too chaotic right now – how could I help someone when I can’t help myself?
These are just a few of the excuses that may be running through your mind, but after you read through the following five ways that volunteering can change your life for the better, I hope you will put those thoughts to rest and get involved!
1. Volunteering Reduces Stress Levels
In the same study mentioned above, it was found that 78 percent of volunteers say they had lower stress levels.
Imagine waking up on a Monday morning feeling ready to take on the day. You are feeling more positive about the big meeting you have coming up and you can tell you are in much better spirits than a couple months prior.
These results are possible if you spend even just an hour or two volunteering in your community!
2. You’ll Be Physically and Mentally Healthier
The Corporation for National and Community Service also provides data about volunteering. You may be surprised to learn the following:
- Older adults who volunteered showed a lower decline in health and functioning levels
- Being involved in the community created greater social integration
- Even mortality rates were lower for people who volunteered
Think about it – even if you could only devote two hours each week to helping out at your local food pantry, church, or nonprofit organization, you could easily clock in over 100 hours for the entire year.
Physical and mental health are important to bring up because there is not one day that goes by in which you aren’t hearing about the latest obesity rates or depression statistics. Negativity is surrounding our world and we can’t expect to just sit back and let these issues fix themselves.
It’s time to take action – what better way to get healthier than to help others?
3. It Expands Your Social Circle
Whether you are new to an area or just looking to meet some new people, you are bound to establish new relationships when you become a volunteer.
Struggling to find a job? Volunteer.
You may not want to work for free, but in addition to all the benefits you’ll receive, you may also gain some important connections that will lead you to your perfect job. In fact, the company you are volunteering with may have an opening at some point in the future that you could apply for. By demonstrating your passion to help and work hard, you are already showing the management team that you have what it takes to fulfill the role.
Looking to meet like-minded individuals?
People tend to give back to the community in their respective areas of interest. For example, someone who enjoys sports may sign up to be a coach at a local YMCA because they get to live out their passion while helping children learn new skills. Then, that person meets other coaches who signed up for the same reasons and a connection is established based on similar interests. Yes, it’s that simple!
4. It Gives You Valuable Experience
Having a plethora of knowledge may help you to not only land your dream job or promotion, but it can also help you relate to others in ways you couldn’t before.
For instance, let’s go back to the sports enthusiast who volunteers as a coach. By being a coach, this person will now learn how to:
- Be a leader
- Communicate effectively with all involved parties (participants, parents, referees)
- Teach skills
- Coordinate practices
- Create schedules
And so much more!
In the end, you can place your experience on your resume and even get a letter of recommendation from the person who supervised you!
5. You’ll Learn More About Yourself
Volunteering opens the door for you to do things you may not normally get to experience at your regular job. For example, an office worker may sign up for Habitat for Humanity and find that they enjoy building houses or painting walls. This desire may not have been discovered had the worker never signed up to volunteer,
The more you know about yourself, the easier it can be to communicate, build relationships, and establish yourself in the various aspects of your life.
There are plenty of other benefits that come along with volunteering. If you would like more information about where you can sign up to give back to the community, check out Volunteer Match or contact a local nonprofit in your area.