Written by 5:40 PM Lifestyle

Volunteering and Mental Health

The outbreak of SARS corona virus had caused havoc worldwide. People are sitting inside
their homes for more than four months. This had urged everyone to practice social distancing,
importance of sanitation and to give a thought to humanity and the notion of uncertainty and
mortality. Some of us are in worst situation due to this pandemic like casual workers and labour
force in the unorganized sector, elderly, parents (shifting between child care and work from
home), people who are laid off from their jobs. Many people have turned to serve themselves as
volunteer to help people even at some distance amidst all this. According to a Yale University in
2016, volunteering has positive relation with mental health and wellbeing. Volunteering for two
to three hours per week or hundred hours a year can add benefits because such activity rewards
you to look ahead and add more than materialistic benefits to your life. Volunteering is not only
helping in the community of an NGO. People who volunteer are reported to be in good state of
mental health and have satisfaction in life. The research also revealed that people increase the
frequency of their volunteering for social cause. People who started with lower level of well
being get big push from volunteering.

Is volunteering really supportive of positive mental health? Yes. It tends to give intrinsic
reward. People feel warm glow when they help others. It boosts to have harmonious and
supportive social relations. People feel connected to each other. Volunteering also gives an
opportunity to young adults to develop leadership and professional skills in themselves. Our
lives are so busy with office, home, social obligations, and much more. However, when one
starts serving for noble cause it can be benenficial for them. It offers help which is vital for
people in need. The right direction and choice can get one good company of friends, learning a
new skill and advancing personally and professionally. It gives a sense of purpose. It also aims at
reducing anxiety, depression, and loneliness and keeps one mentally stimulated. The more you
volunteer the more benefits you get. It should not be a long term commitment i.e. it should not
consume your maximum time and keep you busy. Give time to those who are really in need. It
will maximize your mental health and wellbeing by:

  1. Social support: volunteering helps you to connect with people and community at large. It
    makes real difference in your life. You can make a network of people and scale up your
    social skills.
  2. Stress reduction: your meaningful interaction with people can shift your attention from
    negativity to something relaxing and calm and radiating positivity.
  3. Sense of purpose: volunteering adds a new direction and meaning to your life when you
    give happiness to you and uplift the zest in your life.
  4. It adds fun in your life: once you make volunteering your habit you will be able to
    explore it and the energy it gives you through spending some outdoor activity.

So, next time when you feel boredom or bogged down, go for adding colours in
someone’s life and you will end up adding colours to your life too.

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