Benefits of Giving Back
We all know that it is good to help others but, aside from the social pressures to assist those in need, there are also surprising benefits to us and the persons around us as we grow from these good deeds. Some of the benefits to look forward to with volunteering and giving back to your community include:
- It Feels Good: when we are feeling sad, down or helpless, helping others helps us to feel more confident that we are able to assist and support others. Volunteering can combat stress and increase happiness through meaningful interactions with others.
- You Get What You Give: I am definitely a believer in karma, that what goes around, comes around, and so when we do positive things for persons around us we feel better in the moment, they feel better and more positive feelings will be reciprocated.
- Change Perspectives: helping others reminds us that things could be worse to help us better appreciate what is going well for us right now. At times, we may feel worse for being unappreciative despite having what we have but just focus on enjoying the moment and the activities to embrace the moment and change your mood.
- Learn Something New: volunteering is a great way to gain additional work (and life) experience. Volunteer experiences often involve some training, whether formal or on-the job, that will allow you to gain exposure to new experiences and tools to launch or augment a new career.
- Get Connected: Volunteering is a way of meeting new people with similar interests and passions to you, maybe even a lead for your next job! Volunteering also looks great on a resume for work or school as it shows that we are well-rounded and care about the community.
- Boosts Your Health: persons who volunteer have lower mortality rates, better functional ability and are less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who do not volunteer (CNCS; Helpguide.org).
- Gives Us a Sense of Purpose: humans tend to feel most satisfied when they have a sense of purpose in life. Volunteer efforts can help us to feel more content and confident by feeling that our time and energy is going towards a greater purpose, and hopefully a greater good.
- Builds Our Community: helping the persons around us will improve the lives of the people in our community and ultimately the overall atmosphere of the community, whether recycling, planting trees or in a soup kitchen, these all better the community, create an atmosphere of caring for ourselves, others and the environment and ultimately will encourage others to treat others and the community with more respect.
There are so many ways to volunteer and no wrong way to start. If you are having a hard time deciding what may be right for you, consider what the purpose of the volunteering will be for you (eg: to fill time, try something new, meet new people, wanting to help others). Talk to friends with similar interests to see what they may be involved with and get some background on what’s expected of volunteers in various organizations; it helps if you can find a position that is of interest to you and that has skill and time requirements that you are able and willing to give. Try out a few opportunities to meet different people and figure out what may be the right organization or avenue for you. And have fun!
Ready. Set. Breathe. Give Back.
PS: In Cayman, a great place to start looking for new opportunities is Cayman New Resident.
Corporation for National and Community Service. Benefirts of Volunteering. https://www.nationalservice.gov/serve-your-community/benefits-volunteering
Helpguide.org. Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits. http://www.helpguide.org/articles/work-career/volunteering-and-its-surprising-benefits.htm.