“What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.” Aristotle
Why is Volunteer Work Good for Us?
With our busy lives, it can be difficult to find time to volunteer. We all know that doing volunteer work benefits those that are in need, but did you know that volunteer work is good for us as well? Volunteering can make us feel happier and healthier. Here are some of benefits that we receive by giving.
Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety. It develops emotional stability. Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem and obsessive-compulsive disorders have all been helped by the act of volunteering. As a result of volunteering, people affected by these disorders feel more connected to others, gaining a sense of purpose in life, which in turn decreases their symptoms. Subsequently, volunteer work has a profound effect on our overall psychological well-being. Stress and anxiety are reduced when we have a meaningful connection to another person or when we work with animals.
If you are feeling lonely or isolated, volunteering creates more relationships, which can then lead to friendships. Programs such as Paws for Life (program that allows incarcerated individuals to train shelter dogs) or ones that help war veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder (by having them volunteer at animal shelters) prove that helping those in need is beneficial not only to the animals but also to us. Are you aware that some research has shown that people who volunteer may be at a lower risk for dementia and that social interaction can help delay or prevent Alzheimer’s?
Good for our Health
Volunteering is good for our health. Studies have shown that volunteers have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. It is also interesting to note that older volunteers tend to walk more, are less likely to develop high blood pressure, have a lower risk of heart disease, and have better thinking skills. A lot of us have traditional desk jobs that make us sedentary. Walking around a shelter or food bank, playing with kids at a local YMCA or visiting elderly patients at a nursing home are options that we can take to create activities, and therefore, movement in our lives.
Researchers have found that the act of being helpful to others give us immense pleasure. Consequently, the more we give, the happier we feel. Volunteering increases our self-confidence and self-worth. When we do an act of kindness, we feel good about ourselves. We gain a sense of accomplishment, which creates pride within ourselves. These feelings make us feel better about ourselves, which in turn makes us more likely to have positive views of our lives and our future goals.
Gives a Sense of Purpose
Volunteering also gives us a sense of purpose. Older adults who have retired or have lost a spouse or life partner can find meaning and a new direction in helping others. No matter our age or life situation, volunteering can help take our minds off our own worries. When we help others, who are less fortunate than we are, we feel more grateful for our own lives and situations. We feel more fortunate and appreciative, which in turn creates contentment and joy.
Volunteering in a new industry that we do not work in gives us more knowledge and experience. It gives us important skills that are used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving, project planning, task management, and organizational skills. Many volunteering opportunities do provide extensive training while others build upon skills that we already have. Volunteering can actually help us earn our next job. Volunteer work listed on our resumes make us look more appealing to hiring managers.
Volunteering brings fulfillment and meaning to our lives. It gives us creativity, motivation, and vision that carries over into our personal and professional lives. Unquestionably, volunteering enriches our lives. However, most of us do not volunteer because it benefits us (which it clearly does); we volunteer to make a difference.
Physician Revenue Navigators is a premier company that provides revenue management for healthcare entities. We believe in volunteering, in serving and doing good for others in our community. Volunteering makes us a better company, a better team, and better individuals. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.