When someone freely gives her time, talents and energy to support a cause or another person, she often finds that she is the one on the receiving end. The people being supported may receive money, labor or materials to complete necessary tasks, but the person who donates those assets typically finds an improved sense of wellbeing and outlook on life as a result of giving.
Many organizations need volunteers in a variety of areas, such as with the elderly, homeless, abused and those addicted to drugs or alcohol. Most people can simply volunteer their time to build a home for the homeless or to support someone who struggles with substance abuse.
Furthermore, you do not need resources like money or building materials in order to donate, because donating time and labor can be one of the most valuable resources that organizations need; however, people who have many resources can donate to large organizations that help thousands of people. In short, the benefits of giving back are great and many—they range from simply feeling better inside to actually improving physical and mental health. In other words, if you are recovering from substance abuse, then consider giving back by helping someone else do the same.
Creating Deep Relationships with Friends, Family and the Community
Volunteering with local or national organizations is a great way to meet new people and create new friendships. Relationships that people create while volunteering their time and energy can often be some of the best, deepest that most mutually beneficial. To put it differently, finding friendships while you volunteer can be a blessing to you if you donate your time, talents or treasures to support a cause.
Also, family bonds can strengthen when the whole family volunteers together. For instance, it can be a great opportunity to teach children about giving back to the community and the importance of helping others. Children learn by watching their parents and other adults around them, so, when they see adults volunteering and helping others, they will realize the importance of those acts. To that end, volunteering as a family can connect people with beneficial activities in which children can participate after school ends.
When people give back to other people within a local community, that community will grow stronger. People who volunteer to help someone within their community, they can foster an environment wherein people look out for each other. Someone may volunteer to help a neighbor recover from addiction, and if the helper ever needs support down the road, then the favor will likely be returned1.
Improving Mental and Physical Wellbeing
Volunteering your time and resources can fight against loneliness and depression, thus improving mental health. Many people also find that volunteering can be a great tool to reduce stress, which is linked to numerous mental and physical health problems. In that regard, if you can reduce this emotion by volunteering, then you find a huge win while you also bless other people. People who volunteer are likely to be more physically active than normal, which can improve physical health.
For instance, a study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University linked regularly volunteering with lower blood pressure for people over 50 years of age. Furthermore, regularly volunteering in mentally stimulating ways—such as tutoring or reading to children—can maintain memories and improve thinking skills, which can be especially helpful for the elderly2.
Bringing a Sense of Purpose to Life
When people volunteer to help others through mental health issues, they often find meaning and purpose in their own lives. At the very least, volunteering can simply fulfill someone who is searching to fill a void in his life. Volunteering can be a great way to explore areas of interest with hobbies or passions to which one can devote his time. Some people simply need a change of pace or scenery from everyday life, and volunteering can provide that break. People who sit in an office all day may find numerous benefits from working at summer camps for children or other outdoor activities.
Lastly, in the world of addiction recovery, people find that supporting someone in need becomes a mutually beneficial experience. Especially for recovering addicts, supporting someone else can be a life-changing experience for both parties. People who struggle with addiction typically look up to and respond to others who understand their struggles, so supporting a recovering addict may actually save someone’s life by preventing accidental overdoses and drug-related accidents.