People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them. For others it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge. Regardless of the motivation, what unites them all is that they find it both challenging and rewarding. According to a National Youth Agency report, young people aged 11 to 25 “repeatedly stressed that volunteering had increased their self-confidence, self-esteem and self-belief.” This boost in self-confidence was shown to be strongly linked to improved communication skills, especially amongst young volunteers who were previously shy and nervous about meeting new people. The chance to learn new skills – underlining the volunteer’s sense of their own abilities, feeling good about helping other people, and feeling valued by others were also cited as boosting self-esteem. Your role as a volunteer can also provide you with a sense of pride and identity. It can give you a positive view of your life and future goals.
Here are a few reasons you should think of volunteering to boost your self-confidence:
- Stepping out of our comfort zones and trying something new builds a real sense of achievement.
- Meeting new people and getting involved in the community helps us feel happy, confident and connected.
- Making a difference to a good cause gives us added purpose and meaning.
- Focusing on others can give a sense of perspective and distract us from negative thoughts about ourselves.
- Volunteering isn’t just rewarding, it’s also fun! There are heaps of different activities to involved with, great people to support you, and stories to be made and shared.
When you volunteer, you know you are doing good for your community and this provides a natural sense of accomplishment. The Independent Sector, an organization that gathers tons of statistics about charitable activities, places an Estimated National Value of Each Volunteer Hour every year. That value stands, as of 2017, at $24.69 an hour. The actual amount varies from state to state [USA], but we can see that volunteers are very valuable people!
Here are a few benefits to volunteering:
- Improves Self-Esteem
When teens or young adults volunteer, they develop self-esteem, confidence, and feelings of self-worth. Imagine the benefits to volunteering today, where both girls and boys struggle with self-esteem issues. Consider the advantages of volunteering for teens and young adults with eating disorders, social anxiety, and depression. Volunteering could be life-changing (and life-saving).
- Ends Loneliness
The Campaign to End Loneliness says that close to 45 percent of people in the US and the UK admit to feeling lonely. On top of that, one in ten adults reports that they have no close friends. Loneliness and social isolation are two of the most severe epidemics in the world today. The simplest way to reverse this? Volunteer!
- Increases Socializing
Socially, the benefits of volunteering show up quickly and have long-term effects. Social interaction improves mental and physical health, according to Psychology Today. The benefits of consistent socializing include better brain function and lower risk for depression and anxiety. You also improve your immune system.
- Builds Bonds, Creates Friends
Volunteering creates stronger bonds between friends, family, and coworkers. People build closer relationships, better connections, and more powerful attachments to people when they work together. If you feel the need for deeper connections with other people, try volunteering. You might just live longer and be happier.
- Develops Emotional Stability
Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, low self-esteem, and even Obsessive Compulsive Disorder have all been helped by volunteering. When people with OCD, PTSD, or anger management issues volunteer, they feel more connected to others. They have an increased sense of purpose. Connection and meaning translate to decreased symptoms and improved social function.
- Provides Better Job Prospects
Many researchers have noticed that Millennials are some of the most civic-minded and socially-aware employees. They choose jobs that reflect their values and then continue to donate their money, time and skills. Seventy percent of Millennials share their talents with charitable causes, but their volunteer hours also make them competitive in the job market.
Other generations, too, are finding that civic-mindedness has become an asset in the workplace. Including related and non-related volunteer work on a résumé can often showcase your skills, as well as reveal an openness to teamwork and a talent for innovation. Employers overwhelmingly look favorably on job applicants who have volunteered.
7. Overall Health Improvements
When you have volunteered in the past, were you doing something physically or mentally demanding? Most volunteer work is physical, whether carrying boxes, standing for extended periods of time, or solving problems for an organization. Research continues to find that the benefits of volunteering include improved health. There are even more benefits to volunteering. We notice a subtle shift in ourselves when we volunteer. We feel more connected to others, become less absorbed in the normal stresses of daily life and build our self-confidence and self-esteem.
I personally enjoy volunteering as a way to give back to the community and level up in my self-confidence, knowing that I am doing something bigger than myself. It has also been helped me to be around other positive, like-minded people that want to focus on making a difference.
Now, it’s your turn … share how your experiences as a volunteer and/or tell me how it has affected you and impacted your life – Scroll to the end in the Leave a Reply section.
-with your Success and Confidence in mind,