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Are you making excuses why you can’t find the time to serve others?

You may have heard the saying, “do good, feel good.” This resonates true to giving back and making a positive impact in your community. Of course, donating your time will make a difference in the lives you are helping, but many people neglect to realize how much it will also help them. Volunteering benefits your mind and body and provides valuable connections and experience.

“Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege.” John D. Rockefeller Jr

Here are a few positive impacts of serving others:

Positive Impact #1: Volunteering benefits your mental health

Helping others and making a difference in the lives of those around you can have significant effects on your mental health. For many, donating their time provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment in their life. Researchers have also discovered that helping others makes humans happier, thus helping to combat depression, stress, and anxiety. Volunteering is also a great way to increase your self-confidence and provide a sense of accomplishment.

Positive Impact #2: Volunteering benefits your physical health

Statistics indicate that those who volunteer are likely to live longer. This is because many volunteer opportunities require movement and critical thinking skills. The increased physical movement can help people lessen symptoms of chronic pain and reduce the risk of heart disease. It is also beneficial for older volunteers as it provides a way to get out of the house, meet others, and move.

Positive Impact #3: Volunteering benefits your social skills

One of the best ways to meet new people and strengthen your current relationships is by volunteering. It can be easier to make new friends and create a bigger network of connections through shared common interests. It can also be an ideal way to learn more about your community and may even open the door for new opportunities in your professional career.

There are many ways to volunteer your time and give back to your community. If you aren’t sure where to start, take some time to consider what your goals and interests are. If you like to spend time outside, and are passionate about the environment, consider cleaning up your local park, river, or beach. If you want to make a connection with people in your community, there are always ways to help the less fortunate. This could include donating food items to a pantry, spending time at a soup kitchen, or even volunteering for larger organizations like Habitat for Humanity. Lastly, youth organizations could always use a helping hand. Become a mentor for a child through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, or volunteer at your closest YMCA. You can typically find opportunities to volunteer at community centers, libraries, animal shelters, or on helpful volunteer match websites such as Idealist or VolunteerMatch.

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” Maya Angelou