Volunteered lately? Check out the wealth of benefits that volunteering brings!
by Guest Author
If you have ever volunteered, you know it makes you feel good, but why? Let’s dig a little deeper into the wealth of benefits that volunteering brings and see how we can grow our gratitude quotient by offering up a few hours each month.
Volunteering is a Good Reminder that You’re Part of Something Larger
Donating a few hours of time to help out reminds you that you’re part of something bigger than yourself. It also helps you to realize that we all face problems and we all need help from time to time. Volunteering may show you just how small your everyday problems are in the scheme of things. Volunteering will amplify your gratitude through this realization. You will also feel more connected to your community and feel a great sense of not only belonging but also purpose.
When You Volunteer, You Help Heal the World
Volunteering is an act of aid. When you volunteer, you will help heal some portion of the world even if only a tiny bit. Making the world a better place will give you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Helping others is an important element in increasing your own happiness. When you help others, you will sense their gratitude and mirror the thankful emotions that are surrounding you. Not only are you helping others by volunteering you’re also encouraging yourself and others to volunteer in the future. We continue to do what feels good and a few hours feeling grateful and happy are sure to give you initiative to volunteer again.
Volunteering Creates Connections
Beyond feeling part of something larger, volunteering connects you to others on a personal level. Getting involved in your community can lend purpose to your life and it can also quell loneliness. You may realize new friends with similar interests are right around the corner. Volunteering also leads to potential job leads and looks great on your resume. When you volunteer, you don’t expect these results, but they’re set in motion because you donated your time. Volunteering leads to unexpected feelings of gratitude because of the unintended consequences of helping out.
Volunteering is Time Spent in the Present Moment
How often do you focus solely on the task at hand? Even when we work we seek out distractions, but volunteering is different. Volunteering is usually new and exciting and it requires your utmost attention. You are usually either learning your new role, helping out, or spending downtime chatting with other volunteers. Grounding yourself in the present moment lowers your blood pressure and heart rate, it literally makes you feel good. After a few hours away from your phone and interacting with the present moment, you’ll be so grateful you traded your time in to help others.
There are obviously different levels of volunteering, if you’re new to donating your time, try to make it as enjoyable as possible by seeking out a mission you align with, in a setting that makes you feel good. I personally love to spend time volunteering on the Appalachian Trail. It’s hard work, but I get to spend a week outside with a group of other outdoorsy strangers swapping stories and sharing laughs. I still feel grateful for volunteering experiences I had nearly half a decade ago. Try it this holiday season!
Photo: Anna Earl