Volunteering brings about several benefits to those who are being helped. But did you know that there are actually some surprising benefits of volunteering for the volunteer himself?
One of the benefits of volunteering is that you become connected to other people. Volunteers have a great impact on their community, often uniting the community as one. But volunteering also allows people to interact more, meet new people, and expand their network. When you volunteer, not only does it make your ties to the community stronger, you also meet people who share your interests and gain a wider support group. You also get to practice and develop your social skills more by being exposed constantly to other people.
Volunteering is also beneficial to a person’s mental health. By being a volunteer, you increase your self-confidence, self-esteem, and even develop a more positive outlook on life. Because you are doing something good for the community, you feel a sense of accomplishment and take pride in what you’ve done. This additional confidence and self-esteem will enable you to face life head-on. Also, the more you feel good about yourself, the more positive your perspective will be on your dreams, goals, and even life in general. For those who are feeling depressed, volunteering can help you fight against it. Since you are constantly working with others, you are never alone and you are also gaining a broader and more solid support group. This enables you to manage and get through any of those tough times.
In addition to the mental health benefits of volunteering, there is also a benefit to your physical health. Volunteering allows you to be constantly going about, keeps you busy, and highly active. Research has shown that volunteers have a lower mortality rate compared to those who choose not to. Also, in some cases, volunteering was able to aid in reducing the symptoms of some illnesses such as chronic pain and heart disease.
Other benefits of volunteering include advancement of your career through experience and development of skills. Those who want to enter a new career can use volunteering to enable them to gain experience in the field as well as meet people whom he or she may likely end up working with. Volunteering also allows you to develop and practice skills often utilized in the workplace such as planning projects, problem solving, critical thinking, time management, organization, communication, and teamwork. For those who are thinking about changing their career, volunteering enables you to try out a new field without having to make it a long term thing. You get to experience working in the field and should you find it to your liking, you may already have met several key people that could help you start out. If you change your mind, you can simply stop and still be able to use the experience as part of your CV.
There are certainly many benefits to volunteering. The beauty of it all is that while you are helping others, you are also actually helping yourself.