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

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