Many of us volunteer, although not all of us recognise what we do as ‘volunteering’. Volunteering comes in many forms. We recognise volunteering as running a local scout’s group or football team or working in a local charity shop but don’t necessarily recognise helping at a school or doing a neighbours shopping as volunteering – it is. Using our time, skills and energy to support others not only helps them but helps us too.
How does volunteering help your mental health?
1) Reduces Stress
Making a meaningful connection whether with adults, children or animals can take our mind off our own worries. We divert our attention which helps improve our mood and feel less stressed.
2) Helps Combats Depression
Volunteering increases motivation and provides a sense of accomplishment. It distracts us from being critical particularly of ourselves.
3) Prevents Feelings of Isolation
We extend our social network. Maybe meet people from different walks of life that we would ordinarily never meet. If we pick an activity that we like and are interested in, we are likely to meet likeminded people who we have the same interests. The social connections often develop into friendships.
4) Increases Confidence
We may learn new skills and learn about a different or new environment. This can help with improving our confidence.
5) Provides a Sense of Purpose
Volunteering can provide meaning and purpose, beyond our normal day to day activity. It can help us appreciate what we have and develop a sense of compassion for others.
6) Ignites Passion
Volunteering can offer something different to our day-to-day activity. For example, if we work indoors, volunteering in a garden or wildlife settings gets us out into nature. It provides a worthwhile escape from our daily routine.
7) It Makes You Happy
Research shows that feel good hormones and brain activity spike during volunteer activities. We are social animals and are designed to be part of a wider community. Volunteering helps you make the world a better place.
If you want to volunteer with One Small Step why not give us a call.