The power of volunteering is palpable. It’s surprising benefits, both physical and emotional, have been documented and scientifically verified many times over. Regardless of background: penurious or affluent, even the most potent people enjoy the benefits of serving others. The key lies in investment: both in yourself and the community you aim to serve. While there are many ways to volunteer, the most well-documented efforts are service oriented which traditionally spike during the holiday season. However, you can easily reap the rewards of volunteering year round. After all, at its core, helping others is a virtue which bestows fantastic benefits for both the benefactor and recipient.
Carole Hambleton-Moser’s 5 Benefits of Volunteering
1. Add More Time to the Day
Even the busiest people in the world feel like they have more time when they slow down long enough to volunteer their efforts. The effects are most likely psychological, yet still beneficial to your overall well-being all the same. Taking the time out of your stacked schedule to stop and perform a service on behalf somebody else almost always seems to extend the amount of time on hand. When you genuinely take time to reflect and smell the roses, you enjoy them more. Even if you feel like you are too busy to possibly fit anything else in your crazy roster, embrace the challenge and take the time to volunteer. As if endowed from some higher power, volunteering seems to add more time to your day almost immediately
2. Develop Your Talents
Volunteering is a great way to develop and nurture talents you didn’t know you had. When you volunteer, there is less emphasis on “the self” and “measuring up.” Instead, you’ll concentrate on completing tasks for a good cause, whether it’s an organization, entire community or a single individual. This mindset, paradoxical or not, does wonder for self-development. Since volunteering is a service-based effort, it is the perfect way to develop existing skills because it allows you time to practice where you might otherwise never have penciled it in. Without the added pressure of perfect performance, you can thrive in an environment which fosters new skills and reveals hidden talents along the way. Your new and improved skill set could even lead to a money-making side-hustle or even a unique business opportunity.
3. Makes You Healthier
Research shows that regular volunteering leads to lower instances of depression later in life. The reoccurring social nature of the volunteer space is great for your mental health, and the joy you receive in turn is terrific for your emotional health. Studies also show that routine volunteering leads to lower mortality rates among participants. It is believed that those who volunteer regularly have greater functional ability throughout their lifetime. It has also been scientifically proven that those who consistently engage in service-based activities enjoy a lower risk for heart disease, depression, and mental degradation. Helping others does, in fact, make you healthier.
4. Helps Increase Industry Experience
Those who volunteer amass a wealth of valuable skills and talents that are continually being developed and fine-tuned. This is especially helpful on a resume. In addition to professional background, businesses love to see volunteer experience which showcases a driven attitude as well as a diverse skill set. It is also an excellent opportunity to pivot career paths if you so desire. Volunteering in itself is an eye-opening experience and will allow you to first learn the skills necessary to complete your career move at little to no cost. Furthermore, your unique position as a volunteer gives you a chance to absorb the different aspects of the new industry, learn what goes on behind the scenes and get your feet wet before diving head first.
5. Makes You Happier
While this can be a challenging point to prove, the scientific community has studied this aspect countless times over the years. Service-based volunteering helps build feelings of empathy as well as compassion toward others. As cliché as it may sound, volunteering typically makes people smile and helps create a social community as you interact with others. This all equates to that joyful warm, and fuzzy feeling referred to as love. According to a study performed by The London School of Economics, people who regularly volunteer their efforts helping others are happier and feel more love than their counterparts. So, the next time you are feeling a little down or lonely, look for a place to volunteer some of your time. It’s almost guaranteed to have a positive impact on your mood.
There are volunteer opportunities all around you if you look for them. Most cities have homeless shelters that are continually looking for volunteers, or there’s always an animal shelter in need as well. A quick google search will yield lots of local opportunities for you to volunteer your time and you can even tailor your search to your preferences. For instance, if you want to work with animals or take meals to geriatrics, the search engine will assuredly display dozen of links which will lead you in the right direction. There are even organizations that specifically match people with volunteer opportunities so you can align your existing passions with your endeavors. In the end, the excuses are minimal, and the choice is yours.
Volunteering, in addition to the psychological, emotional and physical benefits described above, is a remarkable way to see things from a different perspective. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, you’ll realize the wealth before you. And in the end, you as well as the community will benefit from your much-need efforts and support. Of course, there are several more benefits to volunteering, of which you’ll only discover if you venture out and do it. So, gear up and find a volunteering opportunity today. You will be glad you did.
About: Carole Hambleton-Moser grew up in America but has spent more of her formative years outside of the country than within. She operates in the international arena and has cultivated a natural ability to work with people from many cultures to better benefit their communities. Carole Hambleton-Moser displays tenacity and enthusiasm in working with non-profits which is clearly evident in the results these organizations deliver.