These last few years, we all experienced some challenges; no parties, no events, no meeting up, and everything had to move from real life to online. This long period trapped at home made us reconsider what’s important in life and what we want to prioritise.
We also noticed how crucial it is to take care of our well-being. As Dalai Lama said, “more compassionate mind, more sense of concern for other’s well-being, is a source of happiness.” At Commu, we believe the same and want to provide easier ways to make others and you happy. Let’s now discover the reasons why volunteering is good for us!
Because it makes you happier
Although we’ve been through difficult times, a positive trend also emerged: people have been more willing to help others. They’ve been donating, assisting in doing groceries, and lending listening ears. Those acts of kindness sure do help the ones in need, but surprisingly also bring benefits to those who helped.
For example, the act of helping others improves mental health and well-being. The World Happiness Report 2019 found that volunteering reduces depression, improves the quality of life, and allows people to be more satisfied with their lives. The result is even more noticeable when helpers can see the impact of their good actions.
This also leads to gaining more confidence. It’s about feeling that you’re needed and that you can make a positive impact on someone else’s life. When you help someone, you feel a sense of accomplishment. By achieving something, you realise that you belong to the society, that you’re a member of the community.
Positive experiences where your help is valued allow you to build self-confidence. It feels powerful to be able to influence others positively. And it feels good. According to a psychiatric professional, this reaction also happens at a chemical level in our brains. Even more interesting is that helping others should be repeated to keep benefitting from the increase of good chemicals.
It also makes your body healthier
Even better, volunteering and helping others also improve our physical health. It was discovered that people who do volunteering for more than 200 hours a year are 40% less likely to have high blood pressure. We all know that high blood pressure is the cause of many health issues like heart attack and heart failure, and we’d very much like to avoid them.
Another benefit that you can expect from volunteering is that you get to exercise more. Of course, it depends on the nature of the activities, but many involve physical movements. Think of taking the neighbour’s dog for a walk, helping people carry heavy items, spreading flyers … So, naturally, it’ll get your body in a better shape!
And that’s not all. People who volunteer even have a lower mortality rate. This is simply because those who volunteer are more likely to use preventive healthcare services, allowing them to discover possible diseases early. In addition, people who volunteer spend 38% fewer nights at the hospital.
Of course, we shouldn’t assume that volunteering is the cure-all solution to our health problems. But for sure, it’s been scientifically proven that such actions don’t only help those in need, but the helpers too!
It keeps you connected to society
By volunteering, you get to know a bunch of new people. And most likely, they are people you usually don’t bump into in your usual life, so it’ll lead you to get more social and do networking. You’d be surprised by the opportunities you gain by networking. New friends, relationships, role models, jobs, knowledge … Your network becomes then a place full of valuable information and inspiration.
You can create connections by networking. And when feeling connected to others, you realise that you are indeed a member of the community. It’s important to be conscious of this because it prevents you from being lonely. Enjoying being alone and being lonely are two very different things.
If you’re not too keen to socialise face-to-face, don’t force yourself. Remember that you can also volunteer remotely and still feel the connection to your community. If meeting many new people at the same time makes you anxious, just opt for a one-on-one type of volunteering. You’ll feel connected when you make a difference and give back to the community.
Start a positive chain effect
Another good reason to help others is that you can start a positive chain effect. When you think about something that you’re interested in – a new hobby, for example – it’d be easier to start it if someone near you could initiate you into it. Same with volunteering. It’s easier to start doing it when your friend, family or colleague already has experience in it.
With no previous experience, it’s only natural to be anxious about your first volunteering. A good tip to overcome it is to keep in mind that you don’t have to do it alone. Talk with your closest ones about causes that motivate you and invite them to come volunteer with you. Or look for a low threshold volunteering event and register as a participant. Just keep in mind that, as our user Satu says, helping doesn’t require a huge amount of money, skills or time. It’s just a matter of goodwill.
Did you also know that sharing positive experiences with others makes us happier? Nice travelling experiences, great conversations with interesting people, achievements at work, all these inspire us. You could say the same for your volunteering experience. If you like it, you’ll probably talk about it to your nearest circle.
That’s where the beauty starts. Those who hear about your experience will be encouraged to, in their turn, go help those in need. In addition, people whom you helped might be willing to pass the baton and help others themselves. You, yourself, might even recognise you need help and ask to be helped in return. All these influences are small, but they all are part of a positive chain effect. So yes, everyone can make a difference!
Gives purpose in life
Life’s much more interesting when you know what you want to do about it: what do you want to achieve? What keeps your motivation high? What’s your reason to be? If you don’t know yet, nothing to worry about because volunteering might point you in the right direction.
Finding a sense of purpose through volunteering might be especially suitable for people who have already finished raising their children, for example. It can also be a great fit for someone who retired after working for decades. After being immersed in intense parenting or work life, suddenly having a lot of free time can be overwhelming. But if you can make good use of your acquired experience and knowledge to help others, it’ll certainly bring motivation into your life.
It’s also possible that you’re stuck with your career and wonder if you should give it a change or start learning something new. Sometimes in life, we just need moments to pause and ask ourselves important questions. In those moments, it’s good to try out something new like volunteering, and find out what you want to do with your life.
Volunteering experiences also give you a broader perspective because you get to know other people’s viewpoints. It opens up the world by learning that there are many different forms of life. You can learn about other ways of thinking and cultures that are unknown to you. That kind of process will lead to giving you a better understanding of diversity.
With a broader perspective of society, you’ll be able to understand more the social issues. When you live within your comfort zone, you might not realise how lucky you are. But when learning about others’ lives that experienced more challenging situations, your perspective is put into question. That will help you look at your own problems with a pair of fresh eyes and who knows, maybe even find a solution!
Commu makes helping easier. Try it out!
It’s true that helping others – especially strangers – feels quite nervous. But when you think of it, those who seek help probably also feel a bit nervous, too. At Commu, we do our best to provide a safe tool for those who want to help and seek help. We use email and phone number verification, and provide the possibility to report users who misuse the app. We want to make help available safely and at a low threshold.
Commu counts now more than 15000 users and offers more than 1200 helping notices. It’s available all around Finland, so download it from below and start discovering how you can do good in your local area!