Volunteering is important as it offers essential help to grassroots projects that support those in need and the wider community. Without passionate volunteers Staywell Derby and many other local projects would not be able to carry out the valuable work they want to do.
The benefits of volunteering for those receiving help are clear. Whether it’s providing meals to those in need, offering support groups for those struggling with mental health, or offering a safe space for people to come to, the benefits to the receiver and the wider community are well documented. Through volunteering, lives have been changed, communities have grown and a wide range of issues have been tackled.
But did you realise just how important volunteering could be for the person doing it? In fact, volunteering is beneficial to the doer for a whole host or reasons, including stress reduction, combating depression and providing a sense of purpose.
“Volunteering is important as it offers essential help to worthwhile causes, people in need, and the wider community.”
And while studies do show that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment. Even giving in simple ways can help those in need and improve your overall health and happiness. So, let’s take a closer look at just why volunteering is important with seven key benefits of this altruistic act.
1. Volunteering connects you with others
If you’re feeling lonely, isolated, or simply want to widen your social circle, volunteering in your local community is an important – and often fun – way to meet new people. In fact, one of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together, and volunteering lets you do just that.
2. Volunteering builds confidence and self-esteem
Doing good for others and the community helps to create a natural sense of accomplishment. And working as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity, helping to boost your self-confidence further by taking you out of your comfort zone and habitual environment.
Indeed, volunteering helps you to feel better about yourself, which you can then take back to your ‘regular’ routine, hopefully creating a more positive view of your own life and future goals.
3. Volunteering is important for physical health...
Interestingly, volunteering has distinct health benefits that can boost your mental and – perhaps more surprisingly – physical health. A growing body of evidence suggests that people who give their time to others might benefit from lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.
4. ...and mental health
When it comes to volunteering being important for mental health, the benefits are clear. It can help counteract the effects of stress, depression and anxiety. The social contact aspect of helping others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being.
5. Volunteering is important for a sense of purpose
Because volunteering means choosing to work without receiving monetary compensation, people often choose to give their time to issues or organisations they feel are important or have a special connection to. Volunteering allows you to connect to the causes you are passionate about, in a way that is accessible and fits around other life commitments.
6. Volunteering helps you forget your own problems
One other benefit of volunteering is that focusing on others can give us a deeper sense of perspective, helping to distract us from negative thoughts and stop rumination. Volunteering often involves helping those in need and can be useful in showing us that, in fact, our own lives are not as bad as we thought they were.
7. Volunteering is important for your career
In an increasingly competitive job market, volunteering experience can be incredibly useful. It shows potential employers that you can take initiative and that you’re willing to give your own time to improve the world for other people.
Furthermore, volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice important common skills used in the workplace, such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, planning and organization. Indeed, if you haven’t had a full-time job before then volunteering is an essential way to prove your skills when you do go for work interviews.
Conclusions: the importance of volunteering
It's clear the benefits of volunteering are huge – improved mental and physical health, new friends and avoiding loneliness, a sense of purpose and deeper self-confidence. In turn, all of these things will help to boost your overall happiness: a win-win situation for all involved.
If you're considering volunteering with Staywell Derby and want to know more, contact us directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or apply by visiting www.communityactionderby.org.uk and register to volunteer.