Health & Wellness Articles

7 Good Reasons to Give Back

Improve Your Health and the World Around You

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2. Make social connections. Loneliness and boredom are common among retirees, students, and transplants to a new city. Volunteering can relieve this sense of social isolation and help you fill empty hours in the day.

3. Give back to your community. Doing something for the community you live in and returning the favor to those who have helped you are strong motivators. Everyone, rich or poor, takes from society, and volunteering is one way to show a sense of appreciation.

4. Develop and grow as a person. Volunteering is an excellent way to explore your likes and dislikes. If you’re interested in a new career, volunteer in the field first to see if you will actually like it. You may find a totally unrelated field is a much better fit for you, one you’d never consider if you hadn’t volunteered there first.

5. Gain a new perspective. Life can be hard and when you’re feeling down, your problems can seem insurmountable. Volunteering can offer a new perspective—seeing people who are worse off than you are, yet still hanging in there, can help you see your life in a whole new light.

6. Know that you're needed. Feeling needed and appreciated are important, and you may not get that appreciation from your paid work or home life where the things you do are expected or taken for granted. When you volunteer, you realize just how much you are truly needed. Meeting people who need your help is a strong incentive to continue—people are depending on you. If you don’t do it, who will?

7. Boost your self-esteem. Many volunteers experience a sense of increased self-esteem and greater self-worth. Helping others makes you feel good about yourself, because you’re doing something for someone that they couldn’t do for themselves.
 
Research has shown that the good feelings you experience when helping others may be just as important to your health as exercise and a healthy diet. But it’s the smile from a child or thankful person that shows you’re really making a difference in someone's life. And that’s the greatest feeling in the world.
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • Some of us already know this, very well. - 3/20/2014 12:17:34 AM
  • The old adage 'it is better to give than receive' is from the Bible. It also says 'for him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin'. I took this to heart in the midst of my chronic suffering and pain. I have been encouraging a neighbor that is worse off than me. The smiles and the thankfulness that has been coming out of her mouth lately lifts my soul knowing I had a part in her upward change of circumstances. 'If you have done it to the least of tnese, my brethren, you have done it unto me' '...you shall in no wise loose your reward'. The Bible is not only still a good book, it is a Great book. - 12/11/2013 12:38:44 PM
  • I given back to others if I can. It's better to give than receive. - 11/1/2013 12:41:20 AM
  • Giving back is something I try to teach my children (7 1/2 and 6 years old) daily. - 10/20/2012 12:02:35 AM
  • ENLIGHTENED7
    Fabulous article---and so true! I retired last year. I thought it was what I wanted, but I regretted it almost immediately. (Ironic, since I'm a counselor!) Now I'm eager to find the right volunteering position that will enable me to use my skills and help others at the same time. I can't wait to start giving back! - 7/4/2012 4:02:11 PM
  • This is a wonderful article. I too agree that giving financially to charities, volunteering at libraries, and the other ideas listed in the comments are great options. I'd like to add to those ideas, the concept of providing race support.

    Last year, I participated in 6 races (5k's, 10ks, & 1 half marathon). This was new for me. However, each time, I was encouraged by people handing out water, directing traffic, and sharing words of encouragement. So this year, I've made a commitment to self to participate in another 6 races & provide support for 4-6 more. So far I've provided support to 2 races, and it felt really good. Try it!! - 4/11/2012 11:24:42 AM
  • AZURE-SKY
    There are so many ways to volunteer that it's hard NOT to find something you can do. Remember that you don't have to commit to a whole day or weekend - even a few hours here and there is a big help. And, it doesn't mean working only with charities - schools & libraries need volunteers, too.

    Places that need volunteers:
    - hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers
    - day care centers for children or adults
    - churches (rummage sales, bake sales, sing in the choir, ministry programs)
    - schools
    - pet adoption shelters (walk a sheltered dog & get some exercise as well)
    - find an organization that provides rides for seniors to doctors appts
    - local food bank
    - Salvation Army
    - tutor a student or work in the school library
    - be a chaperone on a school trip
    - Scout leader
    - visit a sick friend or run errands or cook a meal for someone
    - do a fundraising walk for your favorite organization
    - etc., etc., etc.

    Check out websites like Volunteermatch.or
    g or even AARP to find opportunities.
    - 6/9/2011 10:46:37 PM
  • When you volunteer, you usually get back more than you give. You make new friends, you see someone blossom, you teach a pet to trust, there's a million ways and a million rewards.
    Anyone who donates time to a cause is a volunteer. Knitting for babies in the hospital, lap robes for the nursing home, teaching, driving someone to the doctor or shopping. I heatily believe in volunteering and know very few people who don't volunteer in some way. I love you all! - 6/9/2011 9:04:43 PM
  • How do you define 'volunteer'? It's not only donating time to organizations, is it? How about providing help and support to neighbors and family, or adopting parentless children -- a lifetime commitment. Then there's pet rescue, creating wildlife habit, hiring youth and out-of-work people for yard and house work, ..... etc., etc..All of these require time, patience, thoughtfulness, and willingness to give yourself. Some efforts require a lifetime of daily commitment. You don't always say 'I've done my x-number of hours' for the week or month, or go home for the evening leaving it all behind you. Does it count as 'volunteer work' when it's your life you give? - 10/18/2010 9:57:06 PM
  • Great article and so true. I work full time and volunteer my time teaching painting to my coworkers every Tuesday evening. Sometimes it can be a bit crazy with scheduling but it makes me feel great and I gain so much from them . I love when a technique that I show a student works for them for the first time (when it just clicks for them )- what a great feeling. - 8/27/2010 9:10:50 PM
  • Hear hear!! I work with a program that provides volunteering opportunities in schools for older adults, and the health benefits we see are truly amazing. These men and women go from being fragile, plagued with meds and doctors orders, unsure of their ability to take care of themselves... and six months later they're laughing, they're walking everywhere, they're picking up and carrying children... it's truly amazing and inspiring.

    I see volunteering helping people in two ways, physical and mental. Physically, volunteering gets you out of the house! Picking up brush at a local park, helping an older adult in your community go grocery shopping, helping out at a school, are all great ways to be physically active. And mentally, by volunteering you prove to yourself that you ARE useful, you ARE valuable in your community, your life DOES make a difference. It's an immensely powerful feeling.

    I encourage everyone to spend some time volunteering, whether it's a twice a year park pickup, or fifteen hours a week like the volunteers in our program. It truly changes your life. - 5/31/2009 4:29:58 PM
  • I love this article. I see so many opportunities listed in our local newspaper. My husband get can from point a to point b in no time at all. We plan to team up for Meal on Wheels in the near future when we retire. There is a need for daytime delivery help. I will welcome the opportunity to interact with the folks whom we deliver the meals to. It was a meals on wheels volunteer who found my Mom unconscious in her home in AZ nearly 25oo miles from our home her in DE. And phoned 911 for assistance. I am eternally grateful to this woman.

    I am also a Birthright Prayer Mother and I pan on being more active in this area soon as well. I love people and to nurture them in a positive way.
    - 5/31/2009 10:47:08 AM
  • TFACT2R
    I just loved this article. It is so much better to give and
    give as much as possible. Our lives go by too quick. - 9/12/2008 4:07:39 PM
  • Of course it's better to give than to receive. Jesus said it because He knew that people are basically self-centered and selfish. Giving takes the focus off of "me" and puts it on "you." For some, that is very difficult to do and unfortunately, a lot of people don't understand this or they just don't care about the other person's needs. - 9/12/2008 1:28:20 PM
  • LIBRARYLEADER
    What a perfect time for me to read your speech! I run a library that has 50 volunteers and I have a short speech to the public in a week. I will quote you more than once about how good it is for us to volunteer. Thank you so much for the writing you do! - 9/12/2008 9:35:57 AM

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