Discover the healthy benefits of helping others
It's true. Studies show that volunteering has two benefits: You help others and you are helping yourself. Research demonstrates that volunteering:
Improves physical well-being.
Those who engage in volunteer activities are less likely to suffer from poor health later in life.
Raises self-confidence and self-esteem.
The experience of helping others can lead to a sense of greater self-worth and confidence. And volunteering can provide you with a sense of purpose, especially in tough times.
Encourages friendships that buffer against stress and illness.
Volunteering gives you the chance to meet and connect with new people, in new settings. It helps you build social ties that can help fight feelings of isolation during difficult times.
May help you live longer.
Even when controlling for other factors such as age, health, and gender, research has found that when people volunteer, they are more likely to live longer. And the earlier you start, the better. People who volunteer at an earlier age in their lives experience better health outcomes later on in life.
Find the right volunteer opportunity
Consider your own skills, goals and interests – finding an opportunity that matches your own interests is more likely to be fun and fulfilling. Some things to consider include:
- Do you want to do something you are good at?
- Do you like to work with other people?
- What causes are important to you?
- Do you prefer to work indoors or outside?
- Do you want to learn new skills?
- How much time can you commit?
When you're looking to volunteer, don't limit yourself to just one organization or type of work. Opportunities to make a difference are all around us. Consider some of these ideas:
- Work with animals in a shelter or foster a pet
- Improve the environment at a park or neighborhood garden
- Share your knowledge as a mentor or tutor, or work in a classroom or library
- Provide support, deliver meals, offer assistance or companionship
- Flex your muscles building homes, helping with disaster relief, walking for a cause or coaching a team