4 Secret Benefits of Volunteering
We all live busy lives, and finding the time to volunteer can sound like a challenge. However, when you weigh the benefits of performing volunteer work, it’s easy to see how helping others really does help you. In fact, you might quickly find that volunteer work enhances your life so much, that finding the time no longer feels like a challenge!
Many human behavior experts have studied topics such as happiness, helping others, and satisfaction in life, and plenty of evidence suggests a strong link between volunteering and positive emotions. One recent study by the London School of Economics evaluated the link between volunteering and happiness in American adults, and found that more volunteer work equaled greater overall happiness.
Compared with a control group of test subjects who never volunteered, those who did donate their time at least once per month demonstrated a 7% higher likelihood of feeling “very happy”. Those who volunteered more often (every two to four weeks) were 12% more likely to report high levels of happiness. And those who volunteered on a weekly basis are 16% more likely to feel very happy.
The researchers concluded that the more time we spend volunteering, the happier we are likely to feel. That’s an impressive enough conclusion on its own, but then the study was compared with similar research on income levels in relation to happiness. The increase in satisfaction reported by those who volunteer once per week was close to the increase in happiness reported by those who earn $75,000 to $100,000, over people who earn $20,000 annually. In other words, volunteering just once per week could make you as happy as quadrupling your salary!
You might be wondering why volunteer work would have such a drastic effect on life satisfaction. The answers to that question could be as diverse as the study subjects, but we tend to recognize four main points with regard to volunteer work and happiness:
- You feel more socially connected
- The work is good for both your mind and body
- Volunteering can be fun, and provides a sense of personal fulfillment
- The work experience and social networking can help to advance your career
Ideally, volunteer work should be suited to your individual strengths and talents, as well as your personal interests. The good news is that there are as many ways to volunteer, as there are individual personalities. Some might enjoy a social role, while others love the rush of physical labor, while shy types often prefer to work behind the scenes.
Hospice of the Valleys has over 100 active volunteers. As Larry, one of our Patient Support Volunteers says, “Being a volunteer for Hospice of the Valleys has so many rewards for me. I feel that I am there to help comfort and support the families I visit, but in turn I receive so much love back.”
As a trusted member of our community, Hospice of the Valleys, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) has been providing hospice care to the Inland Valley and Fallbrook for over 34 years. If you’re interested in volunteer work, please give us a call at 951-200-7800. We can certainly find an opportunity that suits you!