I was tired.
Like, really tired.
But not the kind where I was exhausted and done, but the kind where I felt like I had given something significant and it was… actually really good.
I was about 16 when I first volunteered for something that I chose myself and did with friends without my parents. It was for a week long kids club that was being run in the summer at my friend’s church. There were SO MANY kids and the days were packed with fun activities, songs with actions, dancing, shouting, skits, games, prizes, competitions, listening to the kids and creating a fun, safe, engaging atmosphere where we also shared about our faith in Jesus in really easy to understand ways. Volunteering took time and effort, however it was amazing to see the difference it made and there are some incredible personal benefits too.
Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose
Whatever you volunteer to help with, it’s great to know that someone else is going to benefit and that what you are doing has an impact. As you help someone else, it helps to take your focus off yourself and your own problems and worries, giving you different mental stimulation and add more zest for life.
Volunteering combats loneliness
This year's focus for mental health awareness week was loneliness. Some wonderful friendships are able to blossom as you spend time volunteering together with others. There’s something about being part of a mission together that unites you into a group like nothing else. It’s a wonderful way to keep depression away and keep you connected to a strong support system.
Volunteering defeats stress, anxiety and anger!
We are hard wired as human beings to help others and when we do, it has a profound effect on our overall wellbeing. Connecting to others in a positive way improves our physiological wellbeing, which lowers stress and anxiety. Our mood is improved when we help others.
Volunteering makes you happier
Researchers looked at the brain activity and hormones when helping others and found a huge payoff of pleasure. The more we help others, the happier we feel!
Volunteering increases confidence
You may be put in a position to step out your comfort zone and do things that you’ve not done before. When you learn new skills and see how it helps other people, it has a knock on effect to your own confidence. When you’re feeling confident, a new world of possibilities opens up to you as your perspective is more positive about life and your personal goals.
Volunteering increases your life expectancy!
Did you know that studies have shown that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who don’t? Although the exact reasons are still a bit of a mystery, it’s a wonderful benefit!