5 Reasons Why Doing Good is Good for You
Every year on December 5th, the United Nations coordinates International Volunteer Day to recognize volunteers across the globe.
Helping others can be very satisfying. It feels great to have a part in making someone else’s life better. There is so much more to be gained from volunteering. Not to make it all about you, but volunteering is a great way to improve your own well-being. Here a just a few of the reasons why you should consider becoming a volunteer for an organization you love:
Reduces Stress Levels
According to this article by the mayo clinic, spending time in service of others releases dopamine, which boosts mood and increases positive feelings. These relaxed, positive vibes and sense of worth – both given and received – reduce stress. The article also reports “In addition, a Longitudinal Study of Aging found that individuals who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who do not, even when controlling for age, gender and physical health.”
Improves Physical and Mental Well-being
Volunteering can improve both your physical and mental health. For starters, depending on the type of service, volunteering often involves physical activities. For many, this increase in movement can have a positive impact on your physical health. This study, by Carnegie Mellon University, shows that in older adults, those who volunteer have lower blood pressure, live longer, are happier, and are less likely to be depressed or anxious.
Provides Sense of Purpose
Doing good for others can provide a wonderful sense of pride and accomplishment. Where you spend your time and with whom can also provide a grounding sense of identity. Those who volunteer also experience greater increases in life satisfaction and self-esteem.
Builds Resilience by Expanding Social Networks
There is no better way to make new friends than to participate in a shared activity. Volunteering increases opportunities for quality social interactions that help build resilience building support systems based on common interests.
Social events create bonds and boost morale. Volunteering events promote the causes your people care about and encourages them to give back to their larger community.
According to the Community Involvement Study, from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, of the companies that measured it, 96% of companies find that employees who volunteer are more engaged than peers who don’t volunteer.
A culture of giving back can inspire and engage a team. Engaged employees are more productive and are more likely to stay at their company.
Inspired to volunteer your time? Awesome! Your first step is to find a volunteering opportunity that is a good fit for your goals, personality, and abilities. This might take a little bit of homework but that’s okay. If its worth doing, it’s worth doing right!
Here are few things to consider before you volunteer:
Does the organization and its mission match with your interests and values? Do you like the culture of the organization? Do they have volunteer roles that match the skills you possess? Consider finding out what the volunteer experience is like in real life: visit the organization, talk to other volunteers about their experience.
How much time do you have to devote to volunteering? Whether it is one day a year or one day per week, whatever you have to offer is great. Make sure the organization you are looking at can accommodate whatever time you have to offer.
Are you comfortable with the volunteer ask for this organization? Does it require being exposed to large groups of people? Does it require public speaking? Are there health and safety protocols that make you uncomfortable? Make sure you understand what is required before you commit.
There are lots of ways to find an opportunity that interests you. Talk to friends who volunteer, research organizations online or find websites that list opportunities or match individual skills to organizations looking for volunteers.
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If you have a medical condition or are under the care of a medical provider, please always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before undertaking a new health care regime. To that point, never disregard medical advice or delay treatment for a medical condition because of something you read on this site.
Listen to your care providers as they know you and your condition best. Thank you for reading!
The Team at BSDI