Volunteering Leads to Happiness

We all have the capacity to determine our own level of happiness. There are some simple things we can do to improve our happiness and volunteering ranks high on the scale.

Connecting with others, whether it be with friends, family, community or with groups that share like-minded interests, the result is the same ~ it often feeds our soul.

People need people – we are social creatures. The feeling of belonging is a deep-rooted need for all of us and volunteering with groups and members of the community provides a great deal of fulfillment and enrichment.

Being with others helps us build self-esteem, reduce stress and build self-worth. There is a great deal of evidence that supports being social may help you live a longer life.

Portrait of senior woman holding volunteer badge against blue backgroundVolunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially if you are new to a community. It strengthens your ties to the community, builds your personal and support networks. Getting involved exposes you to people with common interests and fun activities. Volunteering  on a regular basis keeps you in contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you from stress and depression.

Volunteering is good for your health at any age, but especially for older adults. Studies have shown that those who volunteer live longer and lessens symptoms of chronic pain.

Doing volunteer work you find meaningful and interesting can provide either a relaxing benefit or energizing benefit. Sometimes the benefits give you opportunities to explore creativity that you don’t normally get to do in the routine of daily work, career or family responsibilities.

We all need to feel loved and supported. Connect with your community whether it’s through outlets to be with other people or by volunteering. The aspects of conversation, helping, sharing and being in touch with others can increase your sense of purpose. Finding new friends, new connections and perhaps a renewed sense of purpose contribute to our well-being.

Women showing hand gestureSome other ways to improve your happiness are practicing optimism, being kind and expressing gratitude. It may seem simple, but take a moment to recognize the positive aspects and experiences and reflect on them. The old adage of “Stop and smell the roses” hits home. In our busy, fast paced lives, it can be easy to just keep going and not pause to reflect.

Volunteering opportunities abound in most communities, so finding the one that resonates with your passions, interests or community focus, is usually not difficult to find.  If there are no posted volunteer opportunities, consider reaching out directly to the organization and asking if you can volunteer your time and talents.

To learn more about Soroptimist and our mission to improve the lives of women and girls, locally and globally, please visit www.soroptimist.org  To learn more about Soroptimist International of Victoria Westshore, please visit www.sivw.ca.

deb-alcadinho

Deb Alcadinho is a proud Soroptimist member in Victoria, BC.  She is the CEO of Westshore Women’s Business Network, an avid supporter of women, community connector and business advisor.

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