Benefits of Volunteering

While volunteering is often framed solely as a selfless act to support others, there are many benefits of volunteering that you’ll reap as well. Some are psychological or social, but some benefits even have a physical link. Getting involved can take so many forms that there’s an activity and organization for everyone. You don’t even need to be able to leave your home to help through platforms like SpreadLove and the many online organizations dedicated to volunteer work. However, you may find that in-person work gives you access to the widest range of potential benefits of volunteering.

Here Is Proof Why You Should Start Volunteering:

Expanding Your Career Opportunities

If you have downtime between jobs or while finishing up requirements for an educational achievement, volunteering is a great way to gain new skills and build connections that further your career. Many industries offer specific volunteering positions that help you put specialty or professional skills to good use. For example, training and licensed architects might find volunteer positions where they can help with design work for non-profit or public building projects.

Lowering Stress and Building Connections

Recent studies have shown that volunteering regularly can combat depression and anxiety. The effect is particularly pronounced in retired and senior individuals. Other studies show lower stress levels in volunteers, leading to reduced risks for serious diseases like heart disease. Staying connected with others and developing more meaning in your life by working towards a good cause can help counteract many physical and mental illnesses. While volunteering is often largely pursued for lofty reasons, there are plenty of good old physical benefits to it as well. Some forms of volunteering can even get you active and help you build stamina and muscle at the same time.

Creating a Sense of Purpose at All Ages

Older people often lose their primary connections with the greater community as their children move away and they retire from work. Volunteering is an ideal way to build a sense of purpose among this demographic by engaging them in activities that make a real difference. Yet volunteering is also appealing to teenagers, college students, middle-aged stay-at-home mothers, and many other people from various age groups. In effect, it can also foster a sense of cohesion rather than disconnection between people of all age ranges in a community.

Connecting with Friends and Family Members

Even if you already have a strong network in your community, you can deepen your relationships with friends and family members by taking on a volunteering project together. It’s a great way to spend time with someone regardless of what else you might disagree about. Coming together around a common cause is one of the best benefits of volunteering, not only on a personal level but on a much larger one. You’re also likely to make new friends in the process, expanding your social circle without having to make choices between one group of people or another. Strong social connections are considered one of the best ways to stave off age-related depression.

Growing New Skills

Aside from developing new skills to further your career, you can find many personal enrichment opportunities through volunteering. Helping out at the animal shelter might teach you how to better handle your own pet dogs. Reading to the elderly could help you overcome a fear of public speaking. There are many chances to even learn niche skills like crafting, cooking, construction, or first aid by joining the right volunteer group. Don’t be afraid to set goals for your volunteering experiences, even if they’re primarily aimed at serving your community.

Improving Your Community and the World

Speaking of your community, you should feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when you see your efforts really changing the world around you. You can’t control most things, but working with your neighbors to make safer sidewalks or fill potholes can result in tangible changes that you’ll enjoy every day. This counters the negative effects of constant bad news and the feeling that you can’t do much to improve the world. Even your smallest actions can add up when they’re combined with the efforts of others through the right organization. Charities, non-profit groups, and other volunteer organizers can all help you find a way to give back.

Commit to spreading more love both at home and throughout the world by finding a new volunteer position today. Look for something that makes good use of your professional skills, or search for an organization based on your passions, like stray animals or needy children. There’s a chance for everyone to help regardless of their location or skills.

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