7 Surprising Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.“ – Elizabeth Andrew

Don’t let a busy schedule stand between you and volunteering. Sparing as little as two hours per week to volunteer can give you more benefits than you can imagine.

I’m not just talking about the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from helping people and animals. Science says volunteering has a positive effect on your physical and mental health.

As wild as it may sound, volunteering may be more beneficial to you than it is to those you’re helping. Below are some amazing benefits of volunteering you may not have known about.

7 Surprising Benefits of Volunteering

1. Volunteering may help you live longer.

Volunteering improves your overall health, which consequently lowers the risk of premature death.

The amount of time you spent volunteering matters. This study found that people who volunteered more than 100 hours a year had the most health benefits. That may seem like a lot of time, but it only equates to about two hours a week.

Even volunteering at local animal shelters can help you live longer, as Abigail explains in this article.

2. Volunteering can make you less lonely.

Loneliness is one of those problems you should never ignore. It increases your risk of heart disease, obesity, depression and anxiety.

Luckily, volunteering for just a couple of hours every week can help end your loneliness. In this study, researchers found that widows reduced their loneliness by simply volunteering for two hours per week.

3. Volunteering helps improve social life.

If you work from home, chances are you don’t meet people as much as you would like to. Well, volunteering is a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.

While this may sound obvious, I have to mention that you need to volunteer in activities that involve groups of people to enjoy this benefit. Alternatively, you can ask friends or family members to volunteer with you, and that way you get to improve the quality of your existing relationships.

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4. Volunteering may ease your anxiety and depression.

Most times, we feel anxious or depressed because we focus too much on ourselves. Working with people or pets shifts the focus away from yourself.

Researchers also say that helping others makes our brains release feel-good chemicals, which make us feel happy. Spending time with animals also has the same effect.

5. Volunteering can keep you physically active.

Volunteering can help you move more, whether you choose to walk the pets in your local animal shelter or help the elderly. Moving more lowers the risk of conditions like arthritis, heart disease, and obesity.

6. Volunteering helps you develop new skills.

Skill-based volunteering is a great way to gain more experience and develop new skills. Teaching people your skill can help you become a better leader and communicator.

If you’re looking to advance your career, look for volunteer opportunities that are related to your field.

7. Volunteering makes you feel like you have more time.

You’ve probably heard that giving makes you feel wealthier. The same is true for volunteering. A report from Harvard Business Review explains that giving your time away makes you feel like you have more time. This should be encouraging to those who use the excuse that they’re too busy to volunteer

Do you volunteer regularly? Which benefits of volunteering have you experienced?

Images via Getty

37 comments

Marija M
Marija M3 months ago

I know that, volunteering more than ten years.

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Leo C
Leo C3 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Lisa M
Lisa M3 months ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M3 months ago

Thanks.

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Gino C
Past Member 3 months ago

Thanks

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Paula A
Paula A3 months ago

thanks for posting

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Val P
Val P3 months ago

i love volunteering!

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Lisa M
Lisa M3 months ago

Thanks.

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry K3 months ago

Many thanks to you !

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Danuta W
Danuta W3 months ago

thank you for posting

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