The Positive Impacts Of Volunteering
Whether it's volunteer work at soup kitchens, a veterinary clinic, or tutoring students, the time, skills, and energy we devote to our communities help those in need and provide immense mental health benefits. 2-3 hours weekly of volunteering (or roughly 100 years annually), according to research, is a source of numerous benefits if the activity is positively fulfilling and highly motivating for the volunteer. Listed below are the reasons why volunteer work makes the mind healthier.
1. Stress reduction.
A connection filled with purpose, whether working with children, animals, or adults, is a great way to keep our attention focused and limit the stressors that can preoccupy the mind when it remains idle. In addition, the satisfaction from donating our time and energy increases based on how meaningful the experience is, and elevated moods with decreased stress are the result.
2. It fights off depression.
Destructive thought processes, such as pessimism and being harshly critical (especially towards yourself), may be kept at a minimum by volunteering. In addition, a sense of achievement may result from increased motivation to give back to the community. Doing so often leads to thinking, "what else can I do to help others in need?" Long-term volunteering can also improve problem-solving skills regarding social work.
3. Promotes social bonds.
A social network of friends and even professional opportunities may blossom while volunteering. When choosing enjoyable activities, a volunteer is more likely to meet others who share common values and perspectives. Working consistently and welcoming others is essential, regardless of the volunteer work. Not only can new friendships flourish long after the volunteering is over, but it's an exceptional opportunity for introverts to challenge their social comfort zones.
4. Improved confidence.
Being willing to try new skills is sometimes a requirement of volunteer work; this unique ability, combined with navigating through a new environment, provides the mental stimulation we may not experience daily. In addition, we may foster a new sense of pride and identity by expanding our skill set, which can result in bolstered self-esteem and new career opportunities.
5. Fulfillment through purpose and meaning.
Regardless of age and whether an individual is in their prime years of employment or well-retired, volunteer work can result in a newfound sense of purpose, meaning, and personal enrichment. This is especially true when serving others in need, such as children, the elderly, and pets, or providing relief during an accident or natural disaster. These tasks not only put the realities of life into perspective, but they also help us foster compassion while expanding our mindsets with a "can do" attitude.
6. Kindles feelings of passion.
Exploring new interests and teaming up with an expert are fun volunteering possibilities. If you're going through a mundane routine, such as working an all-day office job every weekday, serving your community can be a refreshing escape to enjoy an active activity outdoors. Outdoor volunteer work may be picking up trash on the city streets, dog-walking for an animal shelter, or volunteering for a school summer camp.