Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health.
- Volunteering increases self-confidence. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction by doing good for others and the community. Volunteer activity provides a natural sense of accomplishment. A volunteer role also gives a sense of pride and identity, a good feeling about having responsibility, and helps maintain a positive view of life and future goals.
- Volunteering combats depression. Helping to reduce risk of depression is another important benefit of volunteering. One of the key risk factors contributing to depression is social isolation. Volunteering provides regular contact with others and helps to develop a solid support system, which in turn protects against stress and depression when there are challenging times. Working with a volunteer partner has been shown to improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety.
- Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Volunteering is good for health at any age, but it’s especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.
Can those with limited mobility volunteer?
Whether due to a lack of transportation, time constraints, a disability or other reasons, many people prefer to volunteer via phone or computer. There are many projects where help is needed. Many needs lend to working at home, and in today’s digital age organizations may also need help with email and websites. Home-based volunteering can provide worthwhile possibilities.