Often when we think of volunteering, we consider the benefits to the cause or non-profit organization. We often forget about its benefits for volunteers themselves. Recent research has shown that on top of helping to make the world a better place, donating your time can enhance your overall well-being.
Here are four ways volunteering helps promote overall health.
1. Volunteering provides a sense of purpose. Among the 3,351 adults surveyed by the UnitedHealth Group in a study on volunteering, 96% reported that volunteering enriches their sense of purpose in life, while 95% said that they were helping to make their community a better place through their work. This nearly unanimous consensus speaks to the degree of meaning added to your life from assisting people in need, raising awareness for an important cause, or generally improving your community. By performing selfless work, you become a part of a cause bigger than yourself.
2. Volunteering benefits your mental health. 78% of those surveyed by the UnitedHealth Group said that volunteering lowered their stress levels, while 94% claimed it improved their mood, leaving them feeling more peaceful and energetic. Volunteering can help combat depression by keeping you mentally stimulated and connecting you with like-minded individuals, building a strong sense of productivity and community. The feeling of doing good for others not only makes you feel like your actions make a difference but also boosts your self-confidence and gives you a sense of personal pride and accomplishment. Consequently, it’s no surprise that the London School of Economics found that volunteering can improve one’s happiness to an extent comparable to receiving a substantial pay raise.
3. Volunteering helps improve important job skills. The UnitedHealth Group’s national survey reported that volunteering can benefit an individual’s time management abilities and their people and teamwork skills. Since the most commonly professed barrier to donating time is a perceived lack of it, volunteers tend to be particularly adept at budgeting time to be able to fit work, service, and leisure into busy schedules. Additionally, volunteering generally requires one to work with diverse groups in varied environments, thus broadening their experience with collaborating with many types of people.
4. Volunteering makes you physically healthier. Volunteers report feeling like they have control over their health at a rate higher than the general population. Not only does volunteering tend to keep you physically active, but the feel-good effect of helping others can take your mind off of chronic illness and reduce the risk of heart disease, leaving you feeling better overall.
How volunteers help the YMCA.
As one of the leading volunteer and non-profit organizations in the country, nearly 600,000 people volunteer at the Y each year. Here in Ventura, volunteers give back through activities such as coaching youth sports, participating in Togetherhood Projects and spearheading fundraising campaign. These opportunities also help volunteers enhance their personal well-being and develop meaningful relationships – all while making an impact in communities they care about.
Volunteers make the Ventura Y the community and cause-driven non-profit organization it is today. Without their hard work, our YMCA would not be able to reach and benefit the community as it does today. Every picture in this post shows actual volunteers helping their community through YMCA events and programs.
For more information on how to volunteer, please visit our volunteer page and check out our volunteer opportunities.