Ask anyone who volunteers regularly, and they’ll tell you they receive more from their kind deeds than they give. Volunteering gives you the sense that you matter. It instills a sense of power in you that you can change things for the better.
Many reasons exist to add volunteering to your weekly or monthly schedule. Here are seven of the best benefits you’ll gain from it. You’ll find when you give a lot from yourself, you reap a host of rewards.
1. Form New Friendships
What better way to meet new friends who share your altruism than by volunteering? This is especially true when you’re new to an area, since meeting new people can be difficult.
When you volunteer, you’re all engaged in an activity together, facilitating relationship-building. Moreover, you already share an awesome value system, and the folks you meet are likely to embrace positive attitudes.
2. Get Moving and Active
Did you know only 23 percent of Americans get the recommended amount of weekly physical exercise? Thus, volunteering breaks you free of sedentary living and gets your blood flowing.
Seek out volunteering activities that involve physical exercise. For example, highway and park cleanups get you out and walking in the fresh air. So does canvassing in support of political candidates or causes.
3. Build a Stronger Sense of Community
Many people today do not even know their neighbors, and the disconnect shows. People today feel isolated from others, but volunteering brings them together and creates a sense of community. Volunteering allows you to support your local area directly. For example, if you volunteer in a soup kitchen, you get to know your area’s homeless population on a first-name basis. You share in their stories and see the immediate impact you make in their lives.
4. See More of the World
Have you always wanted to travel, but don’t have extensive financial resources? Consider taking a mission trip! While many organizations still require you to pay your way, many church groups help in fundraising efforts to collect money for your mission. Plus, there is safety in numbers, so traveling with a group increases your security abroad.
5. Improve Your Mental Health
Approximately one out of every five adults in America suffers from a mental illness of some kind during any given year. Moreover, volunteering improves your mental health in two ways. For example, it helps you overcome feelings of powerlessness. Often, we grow depressed about society’s problems, but volunteering teaches us the power of the human spirit in overcoming adversity.
Secondly, doing something good for others makes you feel good, too. Likewise, it raises levels of oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone” in the blood, leading to decreased anxiety and stress.
6. Learn New Skills
Career coaches often encourage those who are new to the workforce or who have taken a long hiatus from it to add volunteer work to their resume. Furthermore, volunteering helps you build soft skills like time management and communication that employers treasure. It helps you build other practical skills as well. For example, if technology intimidates you, mastering new software as part of a volunteer experience allows you to transfer that learning confidence to other platforms.
7. Build Your Confidence and Self-Worth
You might feel nervous the first time you volunteer, and that’s okay! The best way to conquer the fear of doing something new is simply to do it. And because you’re doing it for a good cause, who will disparage you for trying?
The confidence you gain through volunteering benefits other areas of your life. People naturally gravitate toward others who exude a calm sense of self-worth. You’ll become a magnet for others, all through performing kind deeds.
Even though the goal of volunteering remains helping others, you gain a host of benefits as well. Why not sign up for your next volunteering opportunity today? You’ll thank yourself later!
What’s your favorite place to volunteer? Tell us in the comments!