Volunteering your time, money, or energy to help others doesn’t just make the world better—it also makes you better. Studies indicate that the very act of giving back to the community boosts your happiness, health, and sense of well-being.
Here are 10 benefits of lending a hand to those in need.
1. Helping others feels good
There is some evidence to suggest that when you help others, it can promote physiological changes in the brain linked with happiness. This heightened sense of well-being might be the byproduct of being more physically active as a result of volunteering, or because it makes us more socially active.
2. It creates a sense of belonging
Helping others can help us to make new friends and connect with our community. Face-to-face activities such as volunteering at a food bank can also help reduce loneliness and isolation.
3. It gives you a sense of purpose
Studies show that volunteering enhances an individual’s overall sense of purpose and identity. This is because helping others can make you feel rewarded, fulfilled and empowered.
4. Giving helps keep things in perspective
Helping others, especially those who are less fortunate than yourself, can help to put things into perspective and make you feel more positive about your own circumstances.
5. It’s contagious
One study found that people are more likely to perform feats of generosity after observing another do the same. This effect can ripple throughout the community, inspiring dozens of individuals to make a difference.
6. Helping others can help you live longer
Regular volunteering can improve your ability to manage stress and stave off disease as well as increasing your sense of life satisfaction. This might be because volunteering alleviates loneliness and enhances our social lives.
7. It will give you a sense of renewal
Helping others can teach you to help yourself. If you’ve been through a tough experience or just have a case of the blues, the “activism cure” is a great way get back to feeling like yourself.
8. You’ll boost your self-esteem
People who volunteer have been found to have higher self-esteem and overall wellbeing. The benefits of volunteering also depend on your consistency. So, the more regularly you volunteer, the more confidence you’ll gain.
9. You’ll create stronger friendships
When you help others, you give off positive vibes, which can rub off on peers and improve your friendships. Being a force for good in a friend’s life can help build a lasting bond.
10. You become a glass half-full type person
Having a positive impact on someone else could help you change your own outlook and attitude. Experts say that performing acts of kindness boosts your mood and ultimately makes you more optimistic and positive.