Volunteering: The Real Way That You Can Actually Change The World (And Yourself)
Aug 06, 2022
(Photo by Liza Summer)
"One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we made for others." — Lewis Carroll
Can you really change the world?
Many of us have dreamed of changing the world. A daunting task when you think about how huge and complicated our world is now. It can feel overwhelming. How can one person even make a dent in the problems that plague the planet?
The answer is to start small, with the place you live. Is there anything that you could do to improve lives in your community?
Health benefits from helping others
Volunteering your time to help others not only has positive benefits for those in need, but for you as well. From increased appreciation and gratitude, to mental, social and physical benefits.
When you choose to volunteer you will meet other people that also want to help. Chances are you will discover interesting people you may not have encountered otherwise. Someone that you may have passed in the street turns out to be a fascinating person. You are now connected through your shared experience. You can expand your social network with like-minded people who want to make the world better too.
People who volunteer also often have decreased levels of stress and anxiety. In addition to staying active both mentally and physically, you are working with a purpose. By participating in group activities, you can strengthen trust and promote social interaction. And group activities are linked to lower levels of depression.
Those who volunteer regularly have healthier lives in advanced age. This is possibly due to lower blood pressure, from reduced stress. Also the overall increased life satisfaction adds up to longer and happier lives.
Click here to find opportunities to help out your community.
One of my experiences
About ten years ago I had the opportunity to join a friend at an event set up by his employer. He works for a fairly large company in the area, and every year they select a local charity to support. That year they had chosen a local shelter for people who had fallen on hard times. They offer a place to stay as well as job placement and transportation to and from appointments.
The company organized two overlapping 6-hour shifts for two days. Some of us painted faded walls and ceilings inside. Two men brought tools and supplies and spent all day on a pile of bicycles. At the end of the day they had over 20 functioning bikes of all sizes. Some cleared overgrown areas in the yard. While others tilled an area that the residents could use as a garden. I saw all of that in the first 6 hours.
I was amazed at how much was accomplished. How people chose tasks that they were familiar with, and helped others that were not. I wasn't even an employee, but no one cared. That wasn't what we were there for. I worked for a short time alongside a VP, we talked as equals and discussed the best way to go about tackling a problem. It felt like a community.
I recently had a customer at my job who mentioned that he worked for the same company as my friend. I recalled that day and how much I had enjoyed it. He had been there at the exact same time, but we didn't remember seeing each other until that moment. We laughed and from then on we had a deeper connection. Ten years later and we still had that shared experience.
You can make a difference
When you change your community, you are changing the world. You change it for those who you help with your actions. You change it for yourself, by feeling more connected to your environment. You feel the positivity that you've put in the world.
The only real way to change the world is a little at a time. Even a small gesture or a little piece of a Saturday can make a real difference.