Giving back is an umbrella term for giving your time, money, skills, and talents to someone who is recovering from a similar condition as yourself. For example, you can give back to children by being a tutor; you can give back to causes by donating money; you can give back to your community by using your skills and talents on various projects. To understand why giving is a great way to receive many benefits, learn more about volunteering, explore how volunteering helps everyone involved, and then consider how you can improve from volunteer activities.
Many people misunderstand volunteering and what it involves. However, according to the post, All For Good, which provides basic information about volunteering, this act is often associated with someone giving her time and skills to a non-profit organization or community effort. The opportunities for helping other people are broad and can include an act as simple as donating necessary items to a charitable organization—on the other hand, you could get involved with a task that requires complex planning or you managing a project. In addition to bringing your experiences and talents to a volunteer opportunity, you can also learn a wide range of new skills as you work.
Additionally, volunteering has benefits related to employment, as volunteer work demonstrates to employers that you can set and achieve goals. Furthermore, the longer you work without pay, you evince your orientation for service and how you can manage your time between home, work and hobbies.
Also, volunteering creates an opportunity to meet people whom you may never have met otherwise. Working alongside people who have similar interests can expand your social base, which means you have people who will help you have fun without encouraging you to relapse. In addition, if you volunteer in an environment in which you once struggled—for example, working with the homeless when you were once homeless due to addiction—then you can serve by inspiring other people.
A primary benefit of volunteer work is that you will make an impact, often in such a way that benefits both you and the ones you help. Another benefit is that you create effects that will boost people not only today but also in the future.
Three students from Harvard, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania conducted a four-part study entitled, Giving Time Gives You Time. Published in Psychological Science and described in the post, Research: There Are Big Benefits to Giving Your Time, the study shows that spending time with others makes people feel like they have accomplished much with their time, so they actually thought they had more time than usual.
In the first study, five minutes were allocated for some participants to write an encouraging note to a gravely ill child; other people counted the letter “e” in multiple pages of Latin text. Those who gave their time to the ill children thought they actually had more time than those who counted the letters. In the second study, some participants spent 10 minutes doing something for themselves while other people spent 30 minutes doing something for someone else. The results mirrored those of the first study, as those who helped others thought their time flew by, while those who focused on themselves were less satisfied.
The third and fourth studies had similar components: some of the participants spent time giving to others, while the other participants could spend time on self-directed activities. Consistent with the previous findings, participants who gave time thought they had more time than participants who spent time on themselves. Also, participants who gave time felt more effective than the other people did.
Benefits of Volunteering
In the Helpguide.org post, Volunteering and Its Surprising Benefits, you may learn that giving is a great way to receive the following benefits:
- Make new friends and contacts, which is especially helpful when you are new to an area
- Find a sense of purpose and take your mind off your own worries
- Stay mentally stimulated and add more zest to life
- Combat depression, improve mood, and reduce stress and anxiety
- Stay physically healthy
- Increase your social and relationship skills, which can increase self-confidence, self-esteem, and satisfaction with life. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
In addition to these benefits, when you work with other people, you receive the opportunity to practice receiving. After seeing all of these benefits, you may feel motivated to volunteer, but you may not know how to start. The Helpguide.org post suggests that the key is to find a volunteer position that you can do and would also enjoy. To find such work, explore the following questions:
- Would you like to work with adults, children, or animals?
- Would you prefer to go somewhere or work remotely from home?
- Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?
- Are you better behind the scenes or do you prefer more visible roles?
- How much time are you willing to commit?
- How much responsibility are you ready to take on?
- What skills can you bring to a volunteer job?
- What causes are important to you?
After narrowing your interests, consider places to work, such as museums, monuments, libraries, senior centers, service organizations, animal shelters, rescue organizations, wildlife centers, youth organizations, sports teams, and after-school programs. With help and thought, you can find the right place to spend your time.