With increasingly busy lives and the stress of every day, volunteering can seem like an abstract idea to many. However, did you know the benefits of volunteering can be enormous? Oftentimes you start out by wanting to give back and end up with so much more than you ever thought possible.
Volunteering offers vital help to people in need and worthwhile causes to your community
but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. The right opportunity can help you find friends, connect with the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career. Giving to others can also help protect your mental and physical health, reduce stress, combat depression, and provide a sense of purpose.
Volunteering connects you to others.
Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people. Furthermore, volunteering is a two-way street: It can benefit you and your family as much as the cause you choose. Dedicating your time as a volunteer enables you to make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills.
While some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy and have a hard time meeting new people. Volunteering allows you to practice and develop your social skills since you are meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests. Once you have momentum, it’s easier to branch out and make more friends and contacts.
Volunteering is good for your mind, body, and spiritual health.
Volunteering has been shown to help counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety. The social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound impact on your overall psychological well-being. Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection to another person. Working with pets and other animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others while developing a stable support system, which in turn can help combat depression. By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to give to others. The more we give, the happier we feel.
- Volunteering increases self-confidence
You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
- Volunteering provides a sense of purpose
Older adults, especially those who have retired or lost a spouse, can find new meaning and direction in their lives by helping others. Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can help take your mind off your worries, keep you mentally stimulated, and add more zest to your life.
- Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy
Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. Older volunteers tend to walk more, find it easier to cope with everyday tasks, are less likely to develop high blood pressure, and have better thinking skills. Volunteering can also lessen symptoms of chronic pain and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life.
Volunteering is a fun and easy way to explore your interests and passions. Volunteer work is meaningful and exciting! It can also be a relaxing escape from your day-to-day routine of work, school, or family commitments. Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life.
As an Encourager Volunteer with BLC, you will be paired up with a resident and trained in the Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care. As you use the approach, you will learn the resident’s life story and ways to overcome communication challenges. You can sit together, laugh together, take a walk outside together, and begin a journey of friendship together. If you would like or know of someone who would like to become an Encourager Volunteer with BLC, please refer them to Chaplain Ray Coates, Director of Pastoral Care 859-447-1121.