5 reasons volunteering can help your mental health

Global Volunteer Month is almost over. However, there’s still plenty of time to get up and get involved in your community. There are many reasons to give back to others. Sometimes being charitable does just as much for you as it does for the other person (or furbaby)! In fact, experts say that volunteering is good for your mental health. Whether you’re struggling with mental health, are feeling lonely as you age, or want to enrich your life, volunteering is a great way to improve your well-being. Here are five reasons why community service helps your mental health.

Boosts Your Confidence and Self-Esteem

85% of the world’s population deals with self-esteem issues. That’s billions of people!

So, first, know that you are not alone in feeling this way. You are worthy and capable of anything you wish to achieve.

Self-esteem and confidence are built through experiences and achievements. Participating in volunteer work is an excellent way to help boost your confidence and repair some of that self-esteem.

Every time you volunteer, you see the results of your work and dedication. This could be anything from witnessing the joy of an animal at a shelter getting adopted to watching the smile on the face of a child in a mentor program to taking in the beauty of flowers you planted in the park.

These are achievements and experiences. They are what strengthen your self-esteem and confidence.

Allows You to Connect with Others

Human beings long for personal connections. Nothing is more personal than helping out those within your community. Even better, volunteering knows no age. It’s a common interest for every generation.

For starters, the elderly population is among the loneliest in the world. Studies have found that elderly adults who volunteered experienced lowered levels of loneliness.

Volunteering isn’t just for the elderly. Adults can also see significant benefits. Between being a parent, spouse, and employee, many adults get lost in the hustle of life. They forget who they are and even lose their sense of purpose.

Giving back nourishes the longing for purpose. Reprioritizing your time and putting your attention on something that isn’t your kids, pets, school, or work hits the reset button for us.

Doing something outside of your inner circle opens you up to other people and experiences. In return, you can re-enter your life more refreshed and prepared to be present with those you love.

Lastly, children also benefit from volunteering. It’s a chance to get the kiddos off their screens and prompt them to interact socially.

While we always need future IT whizzes and content creators, we still need to communicate with one another face-to-face. Volunteering can push children out of their comfort zones behind the screens and mold them into well-rounded people in the real world.

Helps Put Things In Perspective

Community service is just that — a service. Whether it be time or money, we are donating something to help out a non-profit organization.

That infers that something is in need of help. Therefore, volunteering forces us to stop thinking about our needs and consider the needs of others.

Humans, animals, and the environment alike all need care. People are homeless and hungry. Animals need to be spayed, neutered, and adopted. Lakes and woods have litter that someone can pick up.

When we live in our daily bubbles, we forget about these things. These issues are bigger than us. They are more important than our errands, events, or favorite TV shows. Volunteering helps you see the bigger picture and puts life into perspective.

Goodwill Makes You Feel Good

While the intention of volunteering is to help others, there is still a little part of us that gets enjoyment out of it. Feeling good about doing good doesn’t make your deed any less generous.

In fact, volunteering prompts the brain to produce dopamine, our feel-good hormone. You can’t help it if giving back gives you the feels!

Dopamine is also the same chemical behind the rush we get from push notifications, eating candy, or shopping. Except, volunteering is a lot better for your mental health, waistline, and wallet!

Makes the Community Where You Live A Better Place

It takes a village to raise a child. Each village member must play a role in upholding the community so that the future can grow and prosper.

Who doesn’t want to live in a community that is flourishing?

Take a look around your community. Does the walking trail need cleaning up? Could the animal park use some touch-ups? Does the community center need new sports equipment for kids?

Be the change you wish to see in the community.

Arrange a clean-up crew to walk the trail with you. Get your friends together to fix fences and paint picnic tables at the dog park. Run a drive at work or a pub crawl for sports donations to the community center.

Who says giving back can’t be fun? It’s what you make of it!