Everyday, you probably see multiple commercials, billboards and social media posts about giving back. There are so many causes that need help. Answering the call not only affects the recipient but can benefit you too.
Here are five ways giving back can benefit your mental health.
1. Increases Socialization
In a world full of screens, it’s easy to forget the importance of building in-person connections. Technology is an excellent tool for keeping in touch with people far from us, but nothing beats a face-to-face conversation. When you interacti in-person, you can better read someone’s nonverbal cues.
Physical touch is something many people are still missing after the COVID-19 pandemic. Positive touching, like holding hands, high-fiving and hugging, helps us bond with one another and releases oxytocin. These effects help us feel happy and secure.
When you give back to others, you can meet people involved in the cause, interact with your community and build positive relationships.
2. Provides a Sense of Purpose
If you struggle with low self-esteem or lack purpose, consider giving back. Whether you give monetarily or volunteer, you can know you are making a difference in someone’s life.
Giving your time and energy to a cause you care about can be life-changing. You get to interact with and hear stories about people your contributions directly impact. This can boost your self-confidence, helping you learn about your ability to do something amazing.
The purpose you feel when giving back can also give you the mental boost you need to confidently take on other parts of your life, like work, family time, self-care and hobbies.
3. Improves Physical Health
Giving back doesn’t just provide a mental boost. It can also improve your physical health. Volunteering often keeps you moving around more than you normally would, helping to improve your health.
When you move your body, you burn more calories, release feel-good hormones and increase your stamina. Being around others with a similar passion and seeing the impact giving back provides can improve your mental health. It provides you with more energy to get moving outside of giving back.
Regular exercise creates a positive cycle. It improves you mental health, which helps you improve your physical health. Having good physical health then contributes to good mental health.
Exercise doesn’t have to be getting on a treadmill. Moving around to give back does too.
4. Gets You Outside
With more people working from home, it can be easy to avoid being outdoors. However, going outside is crucial to your health and not just for the reasons you may think.
One thing that hasn’t changed between early humans and us now is our inherent connection to nature. Being in the fresh air can help heal our bodies and minds. Being around natural colors and textures can help calm you. Meanwhile, the sun’s natural light regulates your circadian rhythm and provide a dose of vitamin D.
Many volunteer events happen outdoors, providing you with a meaningful way to get these benefits. Even the ones inside often involve traveling somewhere, which can help you reap some of these advantages along the way.
5. Helps You Stay Mindful
We live in a chaotic world with many stressors. If you worry about the future or past, giving back can help you stay in the moment.
Providing resources to those in need means addressing their current situation. This helps you focus on what you can do in the present instead of what you should do or should have done.
Giving back can help you express gratitude for what you have, replacing stress and worry. Practicing mindfulness helps you positively think through things and reduce anxiety.
Ways to Give Back
The mental health benefits alone make it worth giving back what you can. There are many ways you can help others.
- Volunteer at a Food Bank – Help an organization provide nourishment to hungry families.
- Raising Disease Awareness – These events help raise crucial funds for research and cures. They also could help someone learn the information they need for an early diagnosis.
- Clean Up Your Community – Removing litter along parks and trails make it safer for community members to enjoy all your area has to offer. It’s also better for the environment and positive for everyone’s physical and mental health.
- Donate Items – If you have clothes, appliances or furniture that you no longer need, consider donating them to a charity. They will help out someone trying to get back on their feet. They might also be sold to raise money for an important cause.
- Assist at an Animal Shelter – Our furry friends need love too. Caring for sheltered animals can help them find a loving home.
- Transport Older Adults – Sometimes, it’s hard for older adults to get to appointments and events. By volunteering with a transport organization, you can help them live life to the fullest.
- Make and Deliver Care Packages – You don’t necessarily need to be with an organization to make crafts and care packages for hospitals and nursing homes. Just check with leadership to know what is most appreciated.
There are so many ways to get involved. The best way to learn about volunteer opportunities in your area is to contact organizations directly or look at community bulletin boards and social media pages.
Embracing the Benefits of Giving Back
Giving back can be just as important for you as for the people you are serving. By embracing the mental health benefits, it’s easier to make a positive difference in the world.