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Volunteering for Yourself

Even the most selfless acts can have some selfish benefits. If you’re wanting to connect with others in your community, improve your mood, and gain some valuable skills, volunteering may be just the thing you’re looking for. 

Volunteering connects you to others

Spending time serving your community connects you with others. By working together on a common interest or passion, close friendships can form and continue to grow. Volunteering is also a great way for less outgoing people to develop social skills and branch out beyond their current network.

Volunteering is good for your mind and body

Volunteering provides many benefits to your emotional and physical health:

  • Volunteering counteracts stress, anger, and anxiety – Time spent connecting with others can counteract a multitude of negative emotions. Working with animals in particular has been proven to improve mood and reduce stress.
  • Volunteering combats depression – Having an opportunity to get out of the house and spend time around others can be a great benefit to those combatting depression. Through studying hormones and brain activity, scientists have discovered that helping others delivers serotonin and dopamine, chemicals that counteract typical symptoms of depression.
  • Volunteering provides a sense of purpose – Those looking for a sense of meaning and direction in their lives and can find fulfillment by helping others. 

Volunteering can advance your career

Just because volunteer work is unpaid, that doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. Loaning your skills to an organization can give you on-the-job experience in the area you’re passionate about. If you feel stuck in an office job and want to be working with children, volunteering with an organization focused on at-risk youth can inspire your next steps while giving you experience in the field.

What to consider when choosing a cause

There are countless volunteer opportunities in our surrounding communities. The key is finding a position you have the skills, time, and passion for. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What skills do I offer?
  • How much time do I have available?
  • What cause is important to me?
  • Do I want to work with adults, children, animals, or remotely from home? 
  • Do I want to work alone or as part of a team?
  • Am I better behind the scenes or out in the action?

Whatever you choose, your volunteerism will have an immeasurable impact on your community and countless benefits for your own wellbeing.

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