How Volunteering Helps Our Mental Health, Growth And Self-Improvement
The age we live in and the lifestyle it often forces upon us has led to a constantly increasing number of people who report suffering from stress. These consequences can’t and shouldn’t be ignored, as they range from mental to physical.
So, naturally, people have come up with various ways to find stress relief and to enhance their overall well-being. Through the search for an activity that can keep stress at bay and encourage their own growth and self-improvement, they’ve realized that volunteering can do all of these things. In fact, they’ve found that volunteering is something both your physical and mental health can benefit from.
But, how does it help us be better people and upgrade our mental state? Take a look at some answers to this question.
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You can make new friends
Loneliness has shown to be a huge problem for a significant part of the population, especially the elderly and the disabled, but also among young people, and even children. The main concern is that loneliness can increase your chances of developing depression, heart disease, and even dementia.
By choosing to volunteer, you are more likely to avoid these conditions. Volunteering allows you to meet new people and to connect with them over something positive. The fact that you’re surrounded by people more often and you give yourself the opportunity to talk to them can prevent you from becoming lonely and make you feel fulfilled and cherished by others. On top of that, you get to widen your friend and support network, and all that while taking part in different interesting and fun activities.
You can find a sense of purpose
People who lack a sense of purpose can easily become depressed and may even lose the will to live. This is particularly true for older adults, the ones who have retired, and especially those who have lost their spouse. Volunteering can change those people’s lives, since it can stimulate their minds, keep them occupied and give them something to look forward to.
However, this applies to younger people as well. Things like random acts of kindness, volunteering and helping others can help them find a goal in life. And as much satisfaction as you can get from helping the elderly, you can get even more of it by helping younger generations, participating in shaping their minds and empowering them to think critically and creatively. Tutoring can give them that little push they need to excel.
You can avoid depression
Those who are surrounded by people and those who actually help others out of empathy may be less likely to become depressed, and more likely to be happier. Plus, volunteering can prevent you from having negative thoughts aimed at yourself and it can make you more motivated in all aspects of your life, giving you a strong feeling of accomplishment, which you may have lacked before.
Furthermore, the people you volunteer with are probably just as altruistic as you, meaning that they might also be there for you if you ever feel down and lonely. When you have something to get up in the morning and leave your home for, and when you devote your time and your attention to helping those who desperately need your help and making this world a better place, you will have less time and fewer opportunities to become depressed.
If you can’t decide where and how to volunteer, you can try to find a balance between your desire to help and technology, by using computers and the internet to find an activity which is in tune with your personality, but you can also use social networks to promote your cause and get others to help.
You can increase your self-confidence
Another upside of being helpful and seeing how something that you have done can make a huge difference to either a single person, a whole community, or even the entire planet, can make you value yourself much more and boost your self-confidence. Also, when you decide to take part in different volunteering activities, you may have to acquire some new skills. Learning something new and becoming good at it can stimulate your mind and make you extremely proud of yourself and your capabilities.
All of these things can improve the opinion you have of yourself, and especially when you see how much other people rely on you and appreciate you for your skills, but for your kindness, too.
You can get a sense of belonging
People who move to new cities or even just new neighborhoods can sometimes find it problematic to fit in and connect with their neighbors and the community. There are even those who’ve spent their lives living in the same neighborhood, watching through the curtains as those living in their nearest proximity have fun at neighborhood get-togethers and barbecues, but have never mustered the courage to join in.
Whether you decide to volunteer in a children’s hospital, a retirement home, or provide support to troubled youth, once you start contributing to your community and sharing that experience with people like you, you’ll finally start feeling like you belong to that community, which can be a priceless feeling.
Volunteering can be the spark you needed to bring some light into your life. Helping others can feel good, but when you volunteer, you get a lot of that positive impact back, meaning that by doing good for other people, you also do yourself a lot of good.
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