7 reasons why volunteering makes people happier

November 3, 2015

If you want to be happier, exercising and eating better are two great ways to start. However, if you want to be happier, the combination of helping people, learning new things and meeting new people makes volunteering a winning choice. If you're unsure how to start with volunteering, list your passions, interests and hobbies. Then, do a search for local businesses and organizations related to them. Search their websites or contact them for volunteer opportunities--and before long, you may be smiling more.

7 reasons why volunteering makes people happier

1. You stay active

  • Anything that keeps you busy is generally helpful and aids your mental state.
  • Plus, kindness begets kindness.

2. You form social connections

  • Socializing is good for people of any age.
  • Volunteering provides a safe space for you to meet new people who share your passions.
  • In addition, you get a sense of community.
  • You witness firsthand that one person is enough to make tremendous differences.

3. You are learning

  • Your brain is being stimulated and making new connections.
  • You acquire new skills and extend your capabilities, which aids in self-pride.

4. Volunteering provides a sense of structure

  • Some people's lives may not need structure, but volunteering can be extremely helpful for those who do.
  • For example, it may provide a schedule of sorts for a self-employed person who has issues self motivating.
  • It can also help give a routine to older citizens and provides them with something to look forward to.

5. Volunteering boosts self-esteem

  • Regardless of the volunteer job, you can't help but feel good when you see positive outcomes.
  • For example, if you volunteer at a pet shelter walking dogs, you're doing something the dogs need, and their happiness conveys that.
  • It makes you feel important and good about yourself.

6. How to stay positive

  • Volunteer for something that genuinely interests you.
  • If you volunteer for an organization just because your friends are doing it, or because your family does, then it may feel like just another chore.

7. Stay balanced

  • Keep a healthy work life/volunteer balance to get the most from the experience. For example, if you're voluntarily taking care of an ailing family member, it's easy to become overwhelmed and feel resentful, especially when you perceive other family members as doing nothing.
  • Assert your need for a break.
  • Similarly, if your passion is animals, you're better off volunteering with one or two organizations and conserving your energy for them rather than signing up with five groups simultaneously.
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