What Are the Mental Health Benefits of Volunteering?

What Are the Mental Health Benefits of Volunteering?

If there’s a secret to happiness it’s that happiness comes more from giving than receiving. One of the best ways we can become happier is to help others be happier.

In fact, generally, helping others is one of the best things we can do for our health and wellbeing.

And one of the best ways to help others is via volunteering …

via Very Well Mind by Barbara Field

When you spend your time volunteering, you’re certainly using your time constructively. Whether it’s building houses for Habitat for Humanity or working at a food bank on the weekends, volunteering also makes you feel good.

At the same time that you’re giving back to others, volunteering also gives you a variety of physical and mental health benefits.

What Is Volunteer Work and Why Is It Important?

When you volunteer, you freely give your time with no expectation of any compensation. Many people enjoy assisting in their community. You can also volunteer at your work place or through various charities and philanthropic organizations online. 

Altruism, which focuses on acting out of concern for others’ happiness and well-being even if it’s at a cost, might be one reason people volunteer. Driven by empathy, humans put themselves in the shoes of others facing hardships and often want to help.

Volunteering enables you to feel that you’re part of something greater than yourself. That might mean being part of your child’s education when you volunteer to put on a Career Day for the high school. Or feeling more connected to the world after the GoFundMe you set up for your Ukranian friend generates thousands of donations from across the world.

You don’t feel lonely, isolated or alone when you volunteer. Volunteering prevents you from worrying about your own battles and gives you a new perspective. It also enables you to contribute positively to the world.

Mental Health Benefits of Volunteering

Behaviors that help others are often called pro-social behaviors by psychologists. Helping a great cause is a pro-social behavior that can elevate your mood. It can also affect your health in myriad ways…

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