Most of the countless individuals who do volunteer work already know one of the greatest benefits of serving others: it makes the volunteer feel every bit as good as the beneficiary. That alone explains why so many of us place as much emphasis on our volunteer work as we do on our regular jobs.
Those who volunteer feel more connected to others, and they find that giving of themselves provides a buffer against all the stresses of daily life. They share their experiences with others and become less absorbed in their own troubles. The perks of volunteering are endless and include emotional, physical, social, and professional benefits.
Of course, those who volunteer are typically not doing it primarily for themselves; they have a genuine desire to help others and make a difference. Here are five benefits of volunteering you might not know about:
Volunteering can make you more competitive in the job market
Millennials are a socially-aware generation, donating their time and talents to charitable causes. While the time they put in helps others, it also gives them an advantage in the job market. That’s because most employers put a premium on volunteer work when they decide which candidate will fit into their organization’s culture.
And, volunteer work on a resume makes a favorable impression, regardless of the generation. Companies see those hours as a willingness for teamwork and commitment.
Volunteering can be a cure for loneliness
Loneliness has become a major health concern in the U.S. Look at some of the health risks:
- Lonely people are more likely to suffer from dementia, heart disease, and depression
- Loneliness can increase a person’s risk of death by 29%
- Living alone and without social connections is as bad for health as obesity or smoking 15 cigarettes a day
One of the easiest ways to combat loneliness is to volunteer.
It creates bonds and helps develop friendships
When you volunteer with others, you create strong bonds, whether they are with coworkers, friends, or family. You’ll build closer relationships and form lasting connections when you work in service to others. Studies have shown that people who have deep connections tend to be happier and live longer.
Volunteering improves self-esteem
At a time when young people are often struggling with self-esteem issues, think about all of the benefits volunteering could provide for our youth. When teens or young adults choose to volunteer, their self-esteem soars, they gain confidence, social anxieties suddenly disappear, and are replaced by feelings of self-worth. Volunteering could be life-changing at any age.
Volunteering helps older adults with the aging process
Older adults who retire to an easy chair can lose their sense of purpose. Volunteering can give meaning to their lives as they actively collaborate with others to provide a service to their community or organization. Older volunteers become physically and mentally engaged, both of which help them to feel younger and happier.
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