Volunteering for the Soul
Engaging in acts of kindness and volunteering can truly be a source of inner fulfillment. These selfless acts trigger a 'helper's high,' a feeling of euphoria, as they activate the brain's reward and pleasure centers. Beyond the personal joy it brings, volunteering also fosters a deeper connection with your community, contributing to increased life satisfaction. The best part is that you don't need to commit excessive time or energy – even small gestures make a significant impact. Research has revealed that benevolent actions benefit the well-being of both the giver and the receiver. Interestingly, the more people dedicate themselves to volunteering, the happier they tend to be. Here’s how to make the most of volunteering:
Pick a cause you care about
Giving because you feel you have to can be counterproductive, so try to volunteer both in a way that feels enjoyable and for a cause you believe in. For example, if you are passionate about animals, then helping in a rescue center might be a perfect fit for you; if you enjoy gardening, then perhaps a local hospital or park needs people to help maintain the grounds.
Figure out what works best for you
Do you love the camaraderie of a team, or prefer to achieve things on your own? Or would you prefer to volunteer with a friend to make it more enjoyable?
Be open minded
Volunteering can allow you to learn new skills or try new things, so don’t be too rigid about what you do.
Make a commitment
Be realistic about how much time you have to volunteer- two hours a week, one afternoon a month – and stick to it. If an ad-hoc arrangement suits you better, find an occasional opportunity such as a beach clean.
Be prepared to learn
Ask questions when you need to, take notes, shadow an experienced volunteer. You’ll get far more out of a volunteering experience when you know what you are doing.