A single volunteer can make a significant difference for those around them. Whether you help students learn math or play bingo with seniors, it’s always beneficial to donate your time to others. As a result, you’ll enjoy a happier, fulfilled life. But did you also know you can experience numerous health benefits from this activity?
Take a look at how these actions positively impact your health.
1. It Decreases Anxiety and Depression
As a volunteer, you have a chance to help others experience fuller lives. You can truly dedicate yourself to a cause — if only for a few hours. While there are many causes for poor mental health, it’s clear that social bonds can improve how we see ourselves. It turns out that people may become less anxious and depressed if they volunteer more often. That’s because there’s an opportunity to connect with people on an emotional level.
If you don’t have many meaningful relationships, it’s essential to find ways to build them. Those who volunteer discover that they’re able to meet and spend time with like-minded individuals. When surrounded by people who share similar values and goals, it’s easier to lead an enjoyable, active life. You shouldn’t view volunteering as a cure-all for mental health issues, but it’s hugely beneficial.
2. It Encourages More Physical Fitness
While everyone can and does volunteer, it’s more common for older people to participate. These adults likely need a way to occupy themselves post-retirement, so they choose to work at their local libraries and collect donations for school children. Volunteers often have to lift, carry and move their way through an assignment. As a result, they’re able to become more physically fit.
There are even exercise-focused volunteer opportunities. You could teach seniors how to swim, walk dogs at a shelter or clean up a local park. These experiences are an easy way for volunteers to stay active. All volunteers benefit from added exercise, but it’s older adults who need to care more for their physical health. These opportunities can help them remain happy and healthy.
3. It Teaches Valuable Life Lessons
Anyone who’s volunteered before has learned a life lesson from their experience. These opportunities are an impactful way to see the world through someone else’s eyes. It’s not every day you’re able to interact with so many different people. When families volunteer together, it’s easier for parents to teach their children valuable abilities through their experiences.
You’ll learn that people aren’t always as fortunate as you. Likewise, you’ll discover that small, meaningful efforts can make a significant difference. It’s also common for volunteers to come away from their assignments with communication and teamwork skills. These lessons allow for emotional growth that can make you a more well-rounded individual.
4. It Allows for a Better Self-Image
Many people struggle with how they see themselves. They may not like how they look or act when compared to others. As you volunteer, it’s easier to set those judgments aside. There isn’t a chance to think about yourself when you hand out warm meals and clothes. At the same time, it’s those actions that spark self-love. You have the power to make positive decisions for your community — and that’s a worthwhile accomplishment.
Your self-image can improve as a volunteer because you become more confident when you help someone else. Teenagers may notice better self-worth and stability when they exhibit altruistic behaviors. That makes a massive difference when you’re young. This positivity as a whole helps you feel better about your life and your goals. That leads to better mental and emotional wellness overall.
5. It Can Lower Mortality Rates
It turns out that kind actions lead to a longer life. Adults who volunteer for two hours a week experience a lower mortality rate than others. These opportunities lead to more vibrant lives for both volunteers and recipients. Your mind and body become stronger when you choose charitable activities. As your physical, emotional and mental wellness grows, it’s better for your life as a whole.
People feel happy when they help and connect with others. That joy translates to less depression, anxiety, stress and other inhibitors that make life difficult. The physical aspects also play a role. Even those who endure chronic conditions feel better when they volunteer. It’s true that these opportunities won’t save your life on their own. But they can make life a lot easier.
Volunteering Can Change Your Life for the Better
You’ll be able to encounter life-changing opportunities as a volunteer. Whether you donate your time once a month or once a week, it’s important to give back when you can. As a result, your community will blossom — and you can lead a better life than you could’ve ever imagined. Your physical, emotional and mental health will experience benefits far and wide.