One of the most rewarding and charitable things you can do is volunteer for a community in need. Helping others not only brings joy to other peoples’ lives, but can bring joy into yours as well. When we give to those in need, we gain a sense of purpose and satisfaction, which can improve your own mental health and well-being. Volunteering boosts self-confidence, reduces stress levels and can even help fight depression. It also gives you a chance to socialize and connect with new people.
A study by UnitedHealth Group found that out of 3,000 participants who were surveyed, 76% who volunteered reported feeling better physically, mentally and emotionally. The study found people who volunteer are happier and have fewer health problems than those who don't volunteer. The study also showed that volunteering helps reduce stress, improves mental health, and increases life satisfaction (Unitedhealth Group, 2013).
Volunteering can contribute to life joy for a myriad of reasons:
- Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose: When you volunteer, you're doing something meaningful with your time. You're making a difference in your community or in the lives of others. It can sometimes feel like our lives lack meaning or direction, but when we volunteer, we're reminded that we have something valuable to offer others. This sense of purpose can be very fulfilling and lead to a greater sense of happiness.
- It helps build your résumé and job skills: If you’re looking for a way to improve your chances of landing your dream job, volunteer work is a great way to get started. Volunteering also allows you to network with people who might be able to help you professionally down the line, and can give you experience in many different aspects that can be helpful during your career such as working with others, making connections, organization and management skills, and more.
- Volunteering can boost your mental health: Volunteering has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety. When you give your time to help others, it can take your mind off of your own problems and worries, bringing more calmness into your life. Knowing that you’re helping others without expecting anything in return other than the satisfaction of making somebody else’s life just a little bit better, can bring a lot of joy to your own life.
- Volunteering can boost self-confidence and self-esteem: When you see the difference you're making in someone's life, it can make you feel good about yourself. It feels good helping others, whether it's working with animals, serving food at a soup kitchen, or organizing a charity event — there are endless enjoyable volunteering opportunities, and the sense of accomplishment felt can carry over into other areas of your life, leading to increased confidence overall.
- Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and make friends: When we volunteer, we feel a greater sense of belonging and social connectedness. It gets us out of our comfort zones, and we get to meet people who share the same values as us; you might even make some lifelong friends.
Volunteering can be anything from coaching a sports team to helping out at your local library. Whatever you choose to do, volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and make a difference in someone’s life — and it’s a great way to bring more joy into your own life.