Can volunteering boost your sense of wellbeing?
Posted on 24/03/2022
Hannah Smithson considers the multiple benefits of sparing your time for others
Reach out to others
We Brits are fans of giving; each year televised events such as Children in Need (which raised a record of £39million in 2021) rally us to come together and support those less fortunate. Any of us who’ve pulled our purses out over the years or texted money to causes will already be on board with charitable giving. However, we don’t just have to be altruistic by throwing pound coins at projects. Volunteering our time can actually have a much more beneficial effect on our own wellbeing by building on our sense of society, inclusion and coming together in the community.
Use your gifts for good
When you think of volunteering, perhaps it evokes worry over not having enough time or money to be able to give your talents away for free, but if you choose to volunteer there are so many ways you can go about it. Maybe you stick on the oven for a bake sale, ramble on a sponsored walk or sign up to your local Cancer Research Run (http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/find-an-event). There are lots of opportunities out there to give to others and feel good about yourself in the process. Rather than giving time and money, why not choose to use your natural born gifts to actually extend your skills, network with like-minded people and make friends for life. It’s a win-win for your wellbeing when you think about it!
Not only to keep track of your volunteering hours but to express your emotions, keeping a journal is a great way of documenting your generous escapades. Reminding yourself on a daily basis that there are amazing people in the world looking out for the greater good will brighten up even the dullest of days. You could also note down the people you meet along the way and perhaps something more will come of your volunteering time someday.
Extend your kindness
Kindness goes a long way and comes back in waves. Do one kind thing each day; it might be letting a motorist out in front of you on the way to work or opening a door for your neighbour. Simple and small acts of kindness add up and can boost our sense of happiness. Moreover, by consciously helping others, if you are ever in need, you will be more open to ask for help yourself.
Being present is a gift
Any giving is good giving, but it need be a lot simpler than that. Just by gifting your time to a friend, lending an ear for a problem or simply being present when you’re with loved ones rather than being distracted can be an underestimated act of kindness. Not all of us have the luxury of donating dollars to philanthropic causes so instead, the next time someone is talking to you, give them your full attention and reap the rewards of being present with your fellow human being.
Words by Hannah Smithson