Can Charity Work Improve Your Mental Wellbeing?
Charitable work implies altruism, which is a quality that’s highly appreciated in today’s society mostly because of how rare it is. Volunteering is an excellent way to get involved in a cause you’re passionate about, but did you know it can also provide amazing benefits for your emotional and mental wellbeing?
In today’s post, we’ll detail some of the most important mental benefits that come with charitable work. When you focus more on giving rather than consuming, your whole mindset shifts towards a positive way of thinking. Take a look at seven ways that working or volunteering with a charity can boost your mental health.
1. Reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation
Did you know that over a fifth of the UK population (roughly 9 million people) have admitted to feeling lonely?
Volunteering for a charity helps reduce your feelings of loneliness and isolation, regardless of their degree. When you contribute to something larger than yourself, you’ll bond with people that have the same altruistic aspect, and that healthy connection will give you a joyful sense of belonging.
2. Helps you put things in perspective and improves your gratitude
When you’re in tune with things going on around you, you’ll learn to be less focused on personal issues and more aware of things happening in the world. The feelings that come from contributing to a charitable cause will ignite passion and gratitude for doing the right thing.
Your moral principles will soon shift, your maturity and emotional stability will reach new heights, and you’ll perceive the small problems as small problems, without stressing too much over the little things.
3. Offers you a real purpose
Everybody longs for a real and clear purpose. When we become adults, our responsibilities shift towards more serious commitments (work, bills, family), which can put our mental wellbeing in trouble. But what about your personal growth? What direction are you heading?
Whenever people are asked, “What would you do if money didn’t exist?”, most of them don’t have an answer. That’s because they’re stuck in the smaller picture without having something that truly makes them feel alive. Charity can often give you a real purpose as every charitable pursuit will show you how needed you are in this world and how appreciated your help is.
4. Socialising helps you shift your mindset and develop skills
Every type of work brings changes to your personality and mindset. Of course, your skills will consistently improve as you keep working and achieving new goals.
Charity implies hard work. Nothing good comes without someone putting in the effort, so the more you get involved the more chances you’ll have to develop your personal and professional skills.
We’re talking about important mental traits and skills like commitment, consistency, persistence, problem-solving skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, body language skills, practical skills and much more. The more you volunteer the better person you’ll become.
5. Improves your self-esteem and self-confidence
How important do you think you are? That’s a serious question. We’re all unique in our own ways but very few of us can accept and embrace our uniqueness, regardless of how it looks to society.
If people haven’t valued your work and skills in the past, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t trust and give yourself all the chances to make it big in this life. Charity work comes with wonderful benefits: it improves your confidence in your skills and knowledge and it prepares you for future successes in your working life.
6. It fulfils your basic need of contribution
Did you know that humans have a basic need to contribute? Every time you do something that truly helps someone or that changes the world in a positive sense, you’ll get a boost of happiness. That’s because your dopamine is influenced by your altruistic behaviour, so the more you exhibit it the happier and fulfilled you’ll become.
7. Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s
Over 850,000 people in the UK are currently facing a degenerative disease called Alzheimer’s that results in mental deterioration and loss of memory. There are all sorts of ways to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and volunteering is surely one of them.
Several studies from the Journal of Gerontology suggest that charity work improves elasticity in the brain. That is mostly because volunteering imposes social connections and frequent communication. When you get together with amazing people, you’ll be able to exercise your brain with regular discussions, ideas and team problem-solving activities.
How has charitable work benefited your mental wellbeing? Leave a comment below and let us know what different benefits you have experienced. If you’re interested in volunteering in your community, have a look at our volunteer board to find out what options are available.