This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Many of us resolve each year to give back more, but as it tends to go with New Year’s resolutions, we don’t always get involved like we had hoped. Giving back to your community and the world can have huge effects on your life and the lives of those around you. Giving back doesn’t require loads of cash; often, just your time and commitment to a cause can make the largest difference. We have a social responsibility to help out our fellow man as much as possible, and beyond this responsibility, there are many personal benefits to be gleaned from giving back to our community.
An Expanded Social Network
One of the immediate benefits of getting involved with volunteer opportunities is an expanded social network. Shared activities are one of the easiest ways you can meet and form strong relationships with strangers. Meeting up each week or month will expose you to a bevy of new people with common interests. These meetings will also help you practice your social skills, including conversation and working outside of your own comfort zone.
The Mental Factor
There are a host of mental health benefits to be gleaned from volunteering. The first is improved self-esteem and self-confidence. Volunteering and making a visible change will inspire a feeling of accomplishment and improve your self-perception. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to do well in every facet of your life, from relationships to the professional world. Volunteering can also be beneficial to those seeking out a sense of purpose, and helps individuals carve out identities. Studies have shown that interacting with little furry creatures can greatly help those suffering from anxiety, so if that applies, you may want to consider approaching your local animal rescue group.
The Physical Benefits
A large array of studies have shown evidence of health benefits as a direct result of generosity and charity. Many point towards reduced stress as the main catalyst, but regardless of the reasons, the proof is in the pudding when it comes to health studies. A Berkeley study showed that elderly people who became immersed in volunteer organizations were 44 percent less likely to die in a five-year period. There have been cases in which people living with chronic illness have experienced an increase in health benefits after giving. It may be that charitable living may also help us live longer. Many volunteering experiences require physical activity, which can help those who are usually immobile build up their strength and stay in better health.
The Career Experience
The skills learned in volunteering experiences can help you greatly when it comes to your career. Whether it be professional connections or even the most basic of office skills, the experience you find in a volunteer position can translate directly to valuable personal abilities that will leave you poised to succeed in the professional sector.
How You Can Get Involved
There are thousands of ways to get involved, you simply need to determine which will work best for you. From beach and forest cleanups to animal shelter assistance, taking food to neighbors who are ill or designing a website for your favorite charity, the smallest efforts can make the largest difference. If you’re strapped for time, consider one-time charitable actions you can do on your own. Grab personalized gifts for your pastors to thank them for a wonderful sermon, take a fruit basket to your children’s teacher as a thank you for all of their effort, or drop off a box of cookies from The Cravory at a local children’s hospital to inspire some toothy grins. Check out Gofundme.com for worthy causes that you can monetarily support, ask local community centers if you can help in any way, and keep your eyes peeled for charitable opportunities that may appear in your everyday life.
Always do your research before giving money to a cause, and remain on top of the different activities that arise in your community that would be easy to get involved in. No matter how much time or money you have to give, there are various ways in which you can get involved and give back to your community—everyone will reap the benefits, including you.