The mental health benefits of volunteering

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As Mental Health Awareness Week shines a spotlight on the importance of emotional well-being, one often-overlooked activity proves to be a powerful tonic - volunteering. Numerous studies show that giving your time to help others can reduce stress, combat loneliness, and boost mood and self-esteem for the volunteers.

For those feeling overwhelmed with the pressures of daily life, volunteering provides an outlet to shift perspectives. The act of assisting others triggers a "helper's high" - a sense of calmness and increased self-worth that comes from making a positive impact. One study found volunteers reported higher levels of positivity and less anxiety compared to non-volunteers.

Social isolation can take a major toll on mental health, especially as we age. However, volunteering opens doors to new community connections and support networks. A survey found nearly 80% of volunteers credited volunteering with helping them feel less isolated. Whether spending time at a local non profit or lending a hand for an online cause, volunteering provides crucial opportunities for social interaction.

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Perhaps most encouragingly, volunteering imparts a profound sense of purpose that elevates mood and self-esteem. Developing new skills, achieving goals, and knowing you've made a difference instills a sense of pride. Researchers have found volunteers consistently report higher life satisfaction and happiness than those who don't volunteer.

Adrienne and Roxy Repair Shed EventAdrienne and Roxy Repair Shed Event
Adrienne and Roxy Repair Shed Event

This Mental Health Awareness Week, consider exploring local volunteer opportunities through the Volunteer Centre.

You can call us on 01442 247209 or email [email protected] or pop in to see us in the Roundhouse – the round building outside Boots in Hemel town centre. We are open Monday-Friday 10am-3pm.

If you are not based in Hemel, we also have outreach sessions in Tring on the first Friday of the month, Kings Langley on the second Wednesday and in Berkhamsted on the third Tuesday of the month – get in touch to find out more