“Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have.” – Jim Rohn
Thought of as something which helps others, volunteering typically does much more, it impacts the person who is helping even greater. By taking time out of one’s busy schedule to help an organization, person, or social cause, individuals will find that their own lives are often benefited. The quote stated above speaks so much truth. When people volunteer, their lives are enriched in ways they would have never been without volunteering. There are many benefits, especially related to one’s mental health when individuals give of their time.
Volunteering helps reduce stress and anxiety. By working with people, animals, or completing a task of some sort your mind can distract itself from whatever worries or stressors are currently going on in your life.
Volunteering increases feelings of connectedness. Typically, volunteering is done with other people. You can either make new friends or improve already existing relationships with friends, family, or coworkers. By volunteering with other people, you can help prevent thoughts of isolation and instead help increase social connectedness. This will also improve your social and relationship skills, especially for those who might be shy in the first place. With volunteering as the common ground, there is a good chance that conversations will be easy to begin. Along with social connectedness, you can also feel more connected to our community. Through whatever activity you are doing, volunteering will allow you to feel like you are making a difference in your community and in return feel more connected to your community.
Volunteering makes you happy. Research shows that when you give of yourself, your brain produces “feel good hormones” and you receive a large amount of enjoyment. When you know you are making a difference in the lives of others or your community, you typically feel happier.
Volunteering can increase your confidence. Sometimes when you volunteer, you are able to learn new skills, which can help increase your confidence. Also, simply knowing you are doing good work for others can increase your feelings of accomplishment.
There are many different volunteer opportunities available. Try and find something which you care about and something that matches your skill set, but don’t be afraid to try something new as well. Do not feel like you need to spend a large amount of time volunteering either. You want to be sure volunteering is exciting and worthwhile, and not a task you have to complete.
There are so many benefits to volunteering and many that help improve your mental health. If you think volunteering is going to be beneficial in your life, then you should give it a try. Don’t forget that you are not only making a difference for others, but also for yourself.
Katie Zimmerman, Project Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Katie Zimmerman joined The Kim Foundation in June 2019. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and Sociology from Central College in Pella, Iowa. During her time in college, she volunteered at many non-profits organizations and took multiple sociology classes which focused on mental health. Katie’s role at The Kim Foundation includes running the social media accounts, assisting in the Youth Advisory Council, and providing mental health awareness and education to the community through A Voice for Hope and Healing presentations.