Volunteering is a great way to have a positive impact while connecting to your community, but did you know that volunteering is actually good for you? Today we share four ways in which giving back to your community also gives back to your health and wellbeing.
Physical and mental health benefits
A long-term study from the University of Wisconsin found that regular volunteering is linked to enhanced psychological wellbeing. Getting out, meeting new people, and taking action on a meaningful cause all work to enhance physical and mental health. Plus, if you’re volunteering outdoors, you reap all the benefits of time spent in nature.
For many people, especially older volunteers, meeting with others to give back is a significant source of social connection. Research has shown that those who volunteer on a regular basis form strong connections with those they meet and feel a heightened sense of belonging. Meeting others who are also contributing to an issue you care about is an easy way to forge a new friendship.
Connecting with others in your community increases your confidence and sense of purpose. It also helps you develop stronger social and job skills for better performance in interviews and on the job. If you’re between jobs or just starting out in the professional world, volunteering is a great way to show that you’re passionate about a cause, fill gaps in your resume, and develop tangible skills to help you along the way.
Reduce aging risks
Engaging in regular activities and socialization has been shown to slow cognitive decline and improve brain function. Volunteering can help keep your mind sharp and for many older volunteers, it offers them a chance to share their wisdom and experience with younger community members.
With all the challenges we’ve faced during the pandemic, many people are eager to help, but not sure where to start. Volunteering is a great way to give back; it doesn’t cost anything but your time, and it can actually be good for you. If you want to volunteer, but you’re not sure where to start, begin by identifying a cause that is important to you and researching what organizations are addressing it in your area.
This story is part of our ‘Best of 2021’ series highlighting our top solutions from the year. Today we’re featuring lifestyle solutions.