Most of us take up volunteering out of a desire to do good for others — I know I did. There are more than enough reasons why we should help each other out and if it is also a deeply meaningful and valuable experience in my own life, well, that’s just the icing on the cake. Like so many people who dedicate part of their time and energy to others, however, I don’t hesitate to say that I’ve gotten back so much more than I ever gave.
If you are looking for that last little push to get out there and get involved with something you believe in, here are some of the many, many ways that time spent volunteering pays you back tenfold.
Volunteering Just Makes You Happier
Empirically speaking, it’s just true. That’s pretty hard to beat. Many, many studies have shown that volunteering is good for your health, both physically and mentally. Researchers have found that it is actually a very direct relationship: the more time people spent volunteering, the happier they were, simple as that.
Becoming active in your local volunteering scene is a great way to meet people and become part of a larger community. It’s a great way to make new friends, because you’ll be working alongside others who share your interests and values, and it’s easy to strike up conversation when you have a ready made shared experience and a great excuse to spend time together. You’ll also get tuned into everything that’s going on in your neighborhood and become part of a larger network of community support and connection.
Keep It Interesting!
Volunteering will take you places you didn’t expect to go and introduce you to skills you didn’t know you had, places you never would have discovered, and people you never would have met. It’s a great way to add variety and interest to your life and maintain that spice of discovery in your day to day routine.
Reconnect with Loved Ones
It’s easy to let the tyranny of routine eat away at the connections that matter most. Making a commitment to volunteer together can be a fantastic way to reconnect with the most important people in your life and make sure that your most important relationships stay strong, whether that means spending time with your kids, parents, oldest friends, or spouse. Doing good as a team means that you’re spending quality time together, breaks you out of the “same old, same old” and gives you an activity in common to talk about, which is why couples therapists actually recommend volunteering together.
Bolster Your Resume
Your volunteer work also allows you to build up all kind of valuable experience. Everyone knows it’s a resume-booster, and for great reason. It’s not just self-ingratiating fluff. The work you are doing is real, and without even realizing it you’ll be building enviable professional skills — everything from event planning, conflict resolution, leadership, organization, delegation, and out-of-the-box innovative thinking.