Importance of volunteering
Volunteering is the ultimate expression of human relationships – people acting on behalf of their communities, because of a desire to contribute and help. As a result, volunteers tend to be highly engaged and committed to the outcomes of their work. Volunteering is democratic – each volunteering day can be seen as an active vote towards what the volunteer believes their world should look like.
Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health.
- Volunteering increases self-confidence. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
- Volunteering provides a sense of purpose. Older adults, especially those who have retired or lost a spouse, can find new meaning and purpose in their lives by helping others. Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can help take your mind off your own worries, keep you mentally stimulated, and add more zest to your life.
- Volunteering combats depression. A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and help you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times.
- Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. The physical activity involved in certain forms of volunteering—such as environmental projects in parks, nature reserves, or beaches—can be good for your health at any age, but it’s especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.