How Volunteering Could Help Your Mental Health

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shutterstock_114494899Ever notice how great you feel about yourself and others when you’re actively involved in volunteering for a cause that you feel passionately about? As it turns out, volunteering your time and energy to help others is an excellent way to combat symptoms of depression and improve your overall mental health. Numerous studies have shown that altruistic behaviors promote a slew of positive mental health benefits.

Self-Confidence Booster

When you contribute to the wellbeing of others, you improve your self-confidence. It feels good to know that what you are doing is appreciated by and helpful to other people, and that can translate into viewing yourself in a more positive light.

Sense of Purpose

In a similar sense, volunteerism can provide you with a sense of purpose. If you otherwise feel unwanted and listless about your role in the world, joining a community of volunteers can help you feel accomplished and needed. It can also help to hold you accountable for showing up and participating in an activity, rather than letting yourself maintain an unhealthy habit of backing out and staying at home.

Social Connection

Because volunteering is a communal activity that fosters relationship-building and teamwork, it is a great way to form social connections that can combat loneliness and depression. Chances are, the people you meet while volunteering will share similar interests and passions as your own, making it easy to connect and interact with them. For animal-lovers, volunteer organizations that involve animals can be instant mood-boosters.

Even if you are new to volunteering, there are countless organizations to choose from that are in need of caring, considerate people to help them achieve their goals. If you go into it with a positive attitude, the mental health benefits of volunteering can be endless.