5 Ways Volunteering Improves Your Mental Health

By: Volunteer Success

People often see volunteering as a selfless act, and indeed it is. Volunteering is a powerful way to give back to your community and help others who are in need. However, a lesser-known fact about volunteering is that it may benefit volunteers themselves, particularly regarding their mental health. 

Why is your mental health important?

Caring for our mental health is just as important as looking after our physical well-being. Mental health influences almost every aspect of our lives, affecting our thoughts and emotions. Having a healthy mental state also allows us to cope with life’s ups and downs and boost our productivity. Moreover, mental and physical health are interconnected, having poor mental health may lead to physical health complications. Because of this, it is crucial that we always take time out of our schedule, no matter how busy we are, to work on our mental health.

5 Ways Volunteering Improves your Mental Health

1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

While volunteering, your focus will shift from your personal worries to the task at hand which acts as a natural stress reliever. Moreover, most volunteer groups create a supportive and inclusive environment for volunteers, which helps reduce anxiety by creating a sense of belonging.

2. Increases Happiness

Research has shown that there is a link between helping others and increased levels of happiness. Known as the “helper’s high”, it refers to the positive emotional state that people experience after performing a kind act or helping others. Research has also shown that these positive feelings contribute to long-term happiness, and those who volunteered for more than one month had better mental health than those who did not volunteer.

3. Creates a Sense of Purpose

Regardless of what age you are, volunteering can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment in ways not readily available elsewhere. By dedicating time to a cause you believe in, it can give you a new direction as well as a sense of purpose in life. The feeling of contributing to something meaningful and larger than yourself can also help promote a more positive mind-set and decrease feelings of loneliness or despair.

4. Boosts Confidence and Self-esteem

By volunteering, you can see the tangible impact of your efforts, which helps build a sense of accomplishment. Whether it’s seeing the smiles on the faces of people you’re helping, or seeing how much you’ve helped progress a project along, these moments help affirm and validate your abilities and the value you bring. Moreover, by overcoming challenges and learning new skills, it will help improve and transform your perception of yourself, boosting your confidence and improving your self-esteem.

5. Building Meaningful Social Relationships

Volunteering is more than just doing good, it’s also a great way to build meaningful social relationships. Volunteering brings together and introduces you to a diverse group of people, which helps increase social interaction, combat feelings of isolation, and provides a supportive network which is crucial for your mental health.

Start looking for volunteer opportunities on Volunteer Success today to start working on your mental health! If you have any other questions, we’re here to help! Contact us at support@volunteersuccess.com

Also read…

Sector Monitor: The uneven impact of the pandemic on Canadian charities

By: Imagine Canada

Sector Monitor: The uneven impact of the pandemic on Canadian charities Mirroring what is observed in the economy as a whole, the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the charitable sector unevenly. Over a year since the beginning of the crisis, more than half of charities continue to struggle while others are doing better. From drastic revenue declines to demand surpassing capacity, the situation is still precarious for many organizations, which could have an important impact on the communities they serve. Read our third Sector Monitor Survey to learn more.

The Demographics of Age in Volunteerism

By: Karen Knight

The demographics of volunteering is a fascinating subject. At least it is for me. And if you want to get an understanding of your volunteers, it probably should be for you, too! For instance, those born prior to 1966 volunteered significantly more hours than their younger counterparts. In fact, while iGen volunteers averaged about 82 hours per year, Baby Boomers and Matures averaged 153 and 222 hours per year respectively. So, a Mature volunteer (born prior to 1946) averages almost three times the number of hours that an iGen volunteer does. Didn’t I say that the demographics of volunteering is fascinating?

Free Volunteer Agreement Template and why your organization needs them

By: Volunteer Success

Does your organization require volunteers to sign a volunteer agreement as part of your onboarding process? If not, you may be missing a vital document that protects your organization and your volunteers. This article outlines some of the benefits of having a volunteer agreement template as well as providing free access to a volunteer template of your own.