3 Reasons Volunteering Isn’t Just About the Needy; it’s About You, Too
At Synter Resource Group, we are utterly and completely in love with volunteering. Between working with United Way and The Greater Charleston First Tee Organization to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Adopt-A-Highway, we go big instead of going home. Because of this, it’s our goal spread the good news of volunteering to as many people as possible. It is not only good for those in need, it is also good for the those who volunteer. It’s not only good for volunteers, it is really good for volunteers. Take a look here at some of the reasons why.
“Douglas LaBier, Ph.D.,… a business psychologist, psychoanalytic psychotherapist and writer in Washington, DC… focuses on helping individuals and business leaders identify and resolve the mixture of personal, career-related and organizational conflicts that often undermine psychological health and a positive work culture.” Douglas wrote for the Huffington Post about how volunteers benefit from volunteering in a deep mental and emotional way. Take a gander at this excerpt from his writings:
“Many successful, career-oriented men and women openly acknowledge feelings of inner emptiness, a lack of meaning or real human connection in their lives. Those who volunteer sometimes discover that their volunteer work is the only kind of engagement in their lives that feels meaningful to them — often greater than their career, sometimes more so than their intimate relationships. I’ve heard similar observations from my psychotherapy patients, as well, over the years. That’s a disruptive experience, hard to ignore. But it opens the door to more self-directed growth, regarding your values and life purpose, to becoming a more fully-developed adult.” (emphasis mine)
One of the beautiful things about volunteering is that you cannot separate its goodness for others from its goodness for those who do it. Of course, someone needs to volunteer in such a way that best fits their needs for personal and professional development, as well as their needs for balance between their involvement with volunteering and their other responsibilities. However, when it is a balanced effort, it gives volunteers a mental and emotional high that is founded on deeply meaningful work. It is thoroughly beneficial for the brain. To support this statement, we wish to turn your attention to an exciting study conducted at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. The school shares:
“Volunteer service, such as tutoring children, can help older adults delay or reverse declining brain function, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers found that seniors participating in a youth mentoring program made gains in key brain regions that support cognitive abilities important to planning and organizing one’s daily life… enhancing their quality of life.”
It’s important to note that volunteering has incredible effects on the brain for people of all ages, influxing dopamine into the brain through active participation and a decrease in feelings of anxiety, depression, and meaninglessness.
The evidence is overwhelming for the positive effects of volunteering on the individual. From an increase in meaningful social experiences to research-backed improvements in brain functioning, volunteering is clearly fruitful and beneficial for all those involved.
Originally published at synterresourcegroup.org.