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Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times. Working with pets and other animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
1. Volunteering connects you with others
If you’re feeling lonely, isolated, or simply want to widen your social circle, volunteering in your local community is an important – and often fun – way to meet new people. In fact, one of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together, and volunteering lets you do just that.
If you’ve recently moved to a new city or country, volunteering is an important and easy way to meet new people and it also strengthens your ties to that local community and broadens your support network. Furthermore, it connects you to people who have common interests and passions and who could go on to become great friends.
2. Volunteering builds self-confidence and self-esteem
Doing good for others and the community helps to create a natural sense of accomplishment. And working as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity, helping to boost your self-confidence further by taking you out of your natural comfort zone and environment.
Indeed, volunteering helps you to feel better about yourself, which you can then take back to your ‘regular’ routine, hopefully creating a more positive view of your own life and future goals.
If you’re shy or fearful of new experiences, cultures, and travel, volunteering overseas could be an important and insightful way to help you build self-confidence in this area too (not forgetting the other benefit of this type of volunteering – a chance to see a bit of the world at the same time!).
3. Volunteering is important for physical health…
Interestingly, volunteering has distinct health benefits that can boost your mental and – perhaps more surprisingly – physical health. Indeed, a growing body of evidence suggests that people who give their time to others might benefit from lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.
4. …and mental health
When it comes to volunteering being important for mental health, the benefits are clear. It can help counteract the effects of stress, depression, and anxiety. Indeed, the social contact aspect of helping others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being.
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