Five Important Benefits of Volunteering
Helping others in your community has great benefits for your own health, well-being, and happiness. Here are five ways that volunteering positively impacts the volunteer.
- Volunteering improves your physical & mental health:
Volunteer activities keep people moving and thinking at the same time. Research has found that volunteering among adults, age 60 and over, provided benefits to physical and mental health, and volunteers report better physical health than do non volunteers. Research also has shown that volunteering leads to lower rates of depression and anxiety, especially for people 65 and older.
Volunteering reduces stress and increases positive, relaxed feelings by releasing dopamine. By spending time in service to others, volunteers report feeling a sense of meaning and appreciation, both given and received, which can have a stress-reducing effect. Reduced stress further decreases risk of many physical and mental health problems, such has heart disease, stroke, depression, anxiety, and general illness. In addition, a Longitudinal Study of Aging found that individuals who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who do not, even when controlling for age, gender, and physical health.
- Volunteering provides a sense of purpose:
The work that volunteers provide is essential to everyday activities, which gives volunteers a sense of purpose, especially when volunteering in the areas they find meaningful. Older volunteers experience greater increases in life satisfaction and self-esteem.
You may be able to find your purpose through volunteering and becoming part of something greater than yourself. For instance, if you are retired, unexpectedly unemployed or have lost a loved one, helping others can give your life new meaning and keep you mentally stimulated.
- Volunteering helps you meet people and make new friends:
Volunteering increases social interaction and helps build a support system based on common interests. One of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to participate in a shared activity. Dedicating time as a volunteer helps expand social network and practice social skills with others. Volunteers at Edmond Mobile Meals have a variety of backgrounds but share a desire to care for the elderly in our community. They are men, women, retirees, teenagers, former patients, professionals, homemakers, and students.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to meet new friends as well as strengthen existing connections with friends, family, or coworkers. As a volunteer, you’ll typically interact with people from diverse backgrounds, which allows you to learn other perspectives.
- Volunteering provides a sense of connection in your community:
Volunteering can help you feel connected to those you are helping in the community. This experience may make you want to get involved with other aspects of your community, such as local politics or advocating for programs you believe are important. If you are new to the community, delivering meals is an excellent way to learn your way around.
- Volunteering is fun!
Many people use volunteering to pursue their hobbies while making a difference. Volunteering for organizations or causes also may provide you with a renewed sense of creativity and motivation that carries over into your personal and professional life. It often feels good to contribute to projects and organizations that mean something to you. These good feelings can help lessen the effects of stress, anger, or anxiety in your life. Volunteering may provide you with the tools you need to be a happy and well-rounded individual. Building bonds and connections with people you volunteer with also may counteract any social isolation. Many volunteer opportunities also may involve physical labor to keep you active and reduce stress.
We encourage you to try out volunteering with us at Edmond Mobile Meals! We always need assistance preparing and delivering our nourishing meals to over 230 homebound seniors each weekday. For more information, visit: https://edmondmobilemeals.org/volunteer/ or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information provided by: Mayo Health Clinic System & indeed.com