Updated: Sep 19, 2021
Did you know that enhancing someone else’s well-being could also enhance your own?
It’s true and there is growing evidence to support this. Let’s talk about volunteering. It’s the giving of your time for the good of others without getting paid. To some, this may sound like a rough deal but don’t knock it before you’ve tried it. Volunteering can have huge benefits not only to the organisations that rely heavily on volunteers, but also to volunteers themselves. There's something unique and valuable about willingly giving for the common good. Feelings of self-worth and personal satisfaction experienced by volunteers is much greater compared to non-volunteers, and research by Volunteering Australia found that volunteering was related to feelings of well-being. Volunteers are happier, healthier, sleep better (now who doesn’t want more of that), and are more likely to become involved in other aspects of community life, compared to non-volunteers. It is this fulfillment that actually drives people to volunteer.
You've heard that old saying that ‘it’s better to give than to receive’, well there is research that backs this up. Giving can be anything from donating unwanted items to a charity, cleaning out your magazines & donating them to the local doctor’s clinic, or the giving of your time, knowledge, or expertise. Every little bit really does make a difference and the biggest difference you’ll notice will be how you feel.
Now, I'm the first person to put my hand up and say that ‘l love to shop’ but did you know that if you spend money on others it will put a bigger smile on your face than it would if you spent up big on yourself? It’s true! The kindness of putting someone else before you, without expectation of payment or reward, really can have a flow-on effect. The movie ‘Pay It Forward’ focuses on a young boy from a dysfunctional family who is set an assignment by his teacher to think of something to change the world, and put it into action. He starts a revolution of paying a favour forward not back, and it changes not only his life, his family, and strangers touched by the flow on from his kindness. All of them positively impacted by the giving of good deeds. It has a ripple effect.
Being grateful for what you have and acknowledging that others are less fortunate, confirms that you are doing a great thing. The gift of giving not only increases social value but also benefits the community and fosters a more caring community. It positively impacts your own physical health and well-being by boosting longevity and lowers stress and anxiety. So, if you’re not yet on board, you should be. I’m in, what’s stopping you?