The Benefits of Volunteering
Today is International Volunteers Day, a day to share our appreciation for volunteers without whom we could not provide programs and services to support thousands of elder homeless men. To everyone who volunteers at Haven Toronto, including elder homeless clients of ours, THANK YOU.
Sure, we benefit when you volunteer but you benefit too. Wait, what?! That's right, volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety.
The social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection to another person.
Volunteering also combats depression. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against depression.
Volunteering makes you happy. By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to give to others. The more we give, the happier we feel.
Volunteering increases self-confidence. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
Volunteering provides a sense of purpose. Older adults, especially those who have retired or lost a spouse, can find new meaning and direction in their lives by helping others. Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can help take your mind off your own worries, keep you mentally stimulated, and add more zest to your life.
Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. Older volunteers tend to walk more, find it easier to cope with everyday tasks, are less likely to develop high blood pressure, and have better thinking skills.
Volunteering can also lessen symptoms of chronic pain and reduce the risk of heart disease.
There are a lot of benefits to volunteering. With that in mind, we hope you will consider joining us in support of elder homeless, marginally housed and socially isolated men. Learn more here.