When you volunteer, you get the satisfaction of knowing you helped someone out, even if only for a day. However, did you know volunteering also helps yourself? Studies have found that volunteering can positively impact both your body and your mind. We’re here to tell you all about the different ways doing good in your community can do some good for yourself.
Volunteering helps you stay physically and mentally active.
Many volunteer opportunities require you to be on your feet, which according to researchers, causes many volunteers to report better physical health than their non-volunteering counterparts, especially in those over 60 years of age. When you volunteer, you’re moving and thinking at the same time, stimulating your brain and keeping your mental health in shape. Some volunteers even report higher levels of life satisfaction.
Volunteering decreases your risk of depression.
Continuously volunteering increases your social interactions and gives you a support system of those with common interests. These factors are proven to lead to lower rates of depression, particularly for those 65 years and older.
Volunteering can help you live longer.
Researchers have found that those who volunteer have lower rates of mortality than non-volunteers, even when factoring in gender, age and physical health. Volunteers with chronic or serious illnesses also have reported decreased pain intensity and depression when they help others in pain.
Volunteering allows you to form meaningful relationships.
Meeting new people while volunteering is often many people’s favorite aspects of it. Whether it’s someone you served or a fellow volunteer, donating your time is a great way to expand your social network. You can also volunteer with those you know to strengthen existing relationships. Social skills and friendships are essential to positive mental health.
Volunteering can reduce stress levels.
When you volunteer, you often feel a sense of purpose and appreciation. It can come from yourself, as well as from those whom you serve. This feeling of meaning has the ability to reduce your stress levels. The social relationships you form while volunteering can also alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety.
Volunteering can improve your confidence.
As you continue to volunteer consistently, you become more sure of yourself in your role. For example, if you regularly volunteer at your local nursing home, you know what you’re doing and how to best help each individual. This self-assurance can translate into your daily life. You become more comfortable speaking to new people and dealing with conflict. Confidence is key to good mental health, so if you feel it’s something you should work on, try volunteering.
Volunteering is a great way to improve your community, as well as your body and mind. If you’re looking to do some good in more ways than one, check out volunteering opportunities in a field that interests you.