There’s no question that by volunteering you are helping the organization or individual that is the recipient of your efforts. What many people don’t know is that serving others actually provides tremendous mental, emotional and physical benefits, as well. Volunteering may not be the first thing on your mind when you are stressed out or battling depression, but it can do you a world of good.
April 23-29 is National Volunteer Week
National Volunteer Week is a celebration coordinated by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. The event encourages us all to recognize and thank volunteers who share their talent and their time in support of good causes. The theme for National Volunteer Week is “Service Unites,” which is a great statement about the power of volunteering.
National Volunteer Week was first conceived in 1943 as a way to recognize the service of volunteers during World War II. The celebration declined a bit after the war but was brought back to prominence when it was officially established by a Presidential Proclamation in 1974, and it has grown rapidly ever since.
Health Benefits of Volunteering
Interested in an activity that will help you feel less stressed out and help you manage the symptoms of depression? Volunteering is the ticket! Some of the many benefits of volunteering include:
- Stress reduction. Connecting with other people and learning about the challenges they face is a fantastic stress-buster. Seeing that “we’re all in this together” and knowing that you are doing something to help another person can help you feel more supported and decrease your anxiety.
- Mood elevation. Developing a positive relationship with someone in need is a great way to be more connected, and performing a service that improves their situation can leave you feeling empowered, which helps combat the symptoms of depression.
- Improved physical health. Being a volunteer has many positive benefits for your body. The sense of accomplishment and joy you feel can work to lower your blood pressure and decrease the stress hormones in your system. And the physical activity associated with volunteering is a great improvement over staying home and being sedentary.
- Enhanced mental sharpness. From learning about the organization you are volunteering for to remembering the names of the people you interact with to developing new skills, being a volunteer helps keep your mind engaged and your thinking clear.
- Increased confidence. Knowing that someone is better off thanks to your efforts can make you feel good about your ability to take on a new challenge and succeed.
Encouraging You to Get Involved!
Volunteering is the definition of a “win-win.” The recipient gets the help they need and you get better mental, emotional and physical health. So whether you are looking for an additional strategy for managing your depression or you want to get involved in an activity that makes you feel less stressed out, we encourage you to consider being a volunteer. In fact, we sometimes have volunteer positions open here!
To talk with us about volunteering or about any mental or emotional issues you are facing, contact Community Reach Center online at communityreachcenter.org or by phone at 303-853-3500, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We have centers in the northside Denver metro area, including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.