We all know how volunteering benefits others but did you know that volunteering has been proved to be hugely beneficial for volunteers themselves? Just look on the internet and you’ll find many articles about how doing good for others helps us to lead healthier and happier lives.
Firstly, research has shown that volunteering can decrease the risk of depression. Volunteering increases social interaction as it involves meeting new people and developing new relationships. It also helps build a support system based on common interests. Both of these factors have been shown to decrease depression.
Volunteering also gives a sense of purpose and teaches valuable skills. The work that Volunteer Link volunteers do in providing a much needed service to lonely and isolated people gives purpose and meaning to the lives of those providing the service. Volunteers also learn useful skills both in formal training and whilst volunteering.
Volunteering can also help us to keep mentally active, a study released by John Hopkins University in 2009 shows that volunteering actually increases brain functioning. Furthermore in our stressful world volunteering has been shown to reduce stress, as spending time with others in need can give a sense of meaning and appreciation, which can be calming.
The feel good sense that you get after a workout can also apply to volunteering. It comes from a release of dopamine in the brain after having helped someone. The more you volunteer the happier you become.
So if you aren’t already convinced to volunteer to help others, how about doing it to help yourself?
Volunteer Link are recruiting for their next Volunteers Induction training to be held on 18th April. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to join us and you could be on your way to becoming happier and healthier.