We all want to find self-betterment, happiness, and fulfillment in this life, and while there are many “self-care” techniques and ideas– one of the best ways to care for ourselves is to care for others.
Anyone who has participated in an act of service can attest to the joyful feeling that follows. Opportunities to serve can come when one feels tired, grumpy, or uninterested, but often leaves one happier, more engaged, and grateful for the opportunity. But studies also back this up.
HelpGuide.org gives four benefits of volunteering that I will comment on.
- Volunteering connects you to others.
We are surrounded by people. We pass them by every day. When we take the chance to serve, we take the chance to connect with another human. Whether it is just eye contact and a smile, or learning their story, human connection while serving can be a very positive experience.
- Volunteering is good for your mind and body.
Volunteering comes in many forms. Most of those forms are very stimulating both for the mind and body. When volunteering you are able to get up and moving, solve problems with critical thinking, and more!
- Volunteering can advance your career.
Volunteering is a great way to spend time honing in on specific skills. In the career field, it also gives valuable experience. This is a great way to help your future self while helping others!
- Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life.
This is an obvious benefit to volunteering, but do not forget it! There are many theories as to why we are here on this earth, making people question if they are fulfilled enough. No matter your beliefs, volunteering will fill that hole of fulfillment, and push you to be grateful for the opportunity to live your life.
Looking at these facts, we now see that we can make friends, combat depression with happy hormones, learn valuable skills, and create memories as we serve. All of these benefits, while backed up with research, just make sense. Finding volunteer events with people is an easy way to make friends. People have lifted spirits and are naturally inclined to talk with one another. This can lead one to meet peers who have similar values and hobbies.
How can volunteering be good for our minds and bodies? First, volunteering is most likely an activity of some point that requires action, big or small. This can pull us up from off the couch and get us going, improving our lifestyle by making it more active.
For example, in an interview on the American Dreams Show, Allan Olsen interviews Mitzi Perdue about her philanthropic work with Human Trafficking. Her work, which was quite grand in scale, left her with memories, stories, and experiences that changed her life. One can safely say her decision to serve others reaped great benefits for herself while also changing the lives of those involved in human trafficking.
While looking at these reasons to serve, what reason do you now have not to serve?
f you do not feel capable, remember that service and philanthropy are not limited to a specific type of person, socioeconomic status, or ability level. Service and its benefits can come from acts both big and small. There is no need for a great deal of wealth or a grand gesture. For example, you can hold the door for someone with a smile on your face, offer to help a friend when they move houses or spend an hour or two at the local dog shelter. You can donate your ideas, creativity, skills, money, time, or whatever you are willing to give is enough.
You can start where you are now. So get up and serve someone. The benefits for both you and the recipient have the potential to be remarkable.
-Written by Hannah Judd