How Helping Others Actually Helps You

When Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries come, a gift is a common way to celebrate a special day. As someone on the receiving end, you feel valued and appreciated at that moment. Gift-giving is actually not something that came with modern civilization. All cultures, even primitive ones, practice this tradition as a way of showing affection where the gift is a material representation of someone’s emotions.  

But, science says that there could be more in it for the giver than the recipient. Gifts come in many forms — they can be a good intention, a few words, or a sympathetic ear, sentiment, or understanding. Showing care for another human being, idea, or cause may be just the thing you need to help yourself as well. 

It feels good to help others 

As a person with a disability, you have experienced the kindness of others and their dedication to helping you. Such a gesture can mean the world for a person who is mentally and physically challenged, but what does it mean for the volunteer? 

Based on scientific research, people who volunteer may be improving their health and emotional wellbeing. The reward center in their brain showed increased activity after they helped someone, while other regions express a decline. Most notably, the body’s reaction to stress was decreased with lowering of blood pressure and inflammation. 

Helping others is beneficial for the mind

Depression, anxiety, and anger are common among people with disabilities. While nothing can replace psychological assistance and therapy, there are ways to do some additional healing. Working with other people can help you create a support system that may serve as a mood lifter. 

Animals are also known for their beneficial effects on the mind. Volunteering at an animal shelter or working with pets may be just what you need to fight off anxiety and reduce stress. Volunteer work can increase the production of serotonin and other feel-good hormones in your body, making you feel happy and satisfied. With all these beneficial aspects, volunteering may be just what you need to better your mental health and live a more fulfilling life.   

It will provide a sense of purpose

Everyone loses direction in their lives. No matter the life situation, there comes a time when you don’t seem to fit anywhere anymore and start feeling lost. Joining a cause or volunteer organization is a perfect mental stimulant that will help you regain a sense of purpose. 

You will feel more accomplished and confident, helping you feel better about yourself. Moreover, you may find your identity and define future goals, choosing a more positive approach to life. It will help you refocus on things in your life that have meaning and spend less time obsessing about the negative. 

Volunteer work can build self-esteem

Disability can make you think less of yourself and build your self-esteem, making you feel like an important part of your surroundings. But you couldn’t be more wrong. Volunteer work is a perfect way to show yourself how much you can do to help others and gain back faith in your abilities to do good.

A lot of humanitarian organizations need volunteers who will work as educators. For example, if you volunteer abroad and teach English, that is a great way to change the scenery and help poor and undeveloped communities around the world. If you want to help your local community, consider working in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Or you can give lectures at the youth centers and schools on various hot topics and help kids overcome adolescent challenges.  

Volunteering helps you connect with others

By helping people in your community, you can build lasting relationships and make a difference for people and animals. First of all, you will start going out more and interacting with others which can help you open up and meet new friends. Also, you will improve your social skills that may come in handy when applying for jobs or if you are a shy person. 

Meeting people with the same ideologies and beliefs is a valuable step to expand your network and contribution to society. Just like you will provide help, you will also gain more knowledge and understanding of certain matters. It may even help you overcome some personal issues that make it harder for you to connect to others and form relationships. 

You will gain valuable job skills

If there is a field that interests you, consider finding volunteer work there. It will expand your knowledge and give you a necessary skill set when applying for jobs. Even if you are satisfied with your current workplace, you may learn some valuable skills that can improve your performance and productivity.

Some of the commonly gained skills are teamwork, project planning, organization, solving problems, communication, and task management. These are useful since they can make you feel more comfortable in your role at work and even help you advance to a better position.  

Final thoughts

Helping others is not only about doing a good deed, but also finding a mental balance within yourself. It is not easy to witness the misfortune of others, but volunteering may be just what the world needs to become a better place. Knowing that you have the power to change the wrongs is the ultimate soul food, teaching you to accept yourself as a valuable member of your community. Ultimately, you will gain strength to overcome challenges in your life with patience, confidence, and positivity.