This month at ANPA we are looking into the future. December is a time to enjoy the holidays with your friends and family, and it gives you a lot of time to reflect on what you have done this past year, and what you want to change for next year.
This issue is dedicated to showing you the positive effects of volunteering, and why looking into the new year you should set volunteering as a resolution.
1. Volunteers live longer and healthier lives
Volunteers are happier and healthier than non-volunteers. In fact, during later life, volunteering is even more beneficial for one's health than exercising and eating well. Older people who volunteer remain physically functional longer, have more robust psychological well-being, and live longer. However, older people who volunteer are almost always people who volunteered earlier in life. Health and longevity gains from volunteering come from establishing meaningful volunteer roles before you retire and continuing to volunteer once you arrive in your post-retirement years.
- Psychology Today (2017)
2. Enhance your education
Sometimes the most valuable lessons are taught out of the classroom, and going through the motions of class after class, semester after semester, isn’t enough to get the most out of your education. Applying hands-on experience is going to be some of the most valuable assets to your degree, so it’s important to get involved early to optimize these opportunities.
Extra curricular activities can be just as important to an employer as your GPA. It’s important to show that you are able to achieve a good work-life balance because it paints a better picture of the real you.
- The Huffington Post (2011)
3. Volunteering establishes strong relationships
Despite all of the online connections that are available at our fingertips, people are lonelier now than ever before. Indeed, a 2010 AARP study reported that prevalence of lonelinessis at an all time high, with about one in three adults age 45 or older categorized as lonely. Online connections, while useful for maintaining existing relationships, are not very helpful in establishing lasting, new ones. Working alongside people who feel as strongly as you do about supporting a particular cause creates a path to developing strong relationships with others. It isn’t just beneficial for making new friendships either. Volunteering alongside other members of your family strengthens family bonds based in “doing” your values. And these benefits have a ripple effect. Children who volunteer with their parents are more likely to become adults who volunteer.
-Psychology Today (2017)
4. Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose
Although it is not well-understood why volunteering provides such a profound health benefit, a key factor is assumed to be that volunteering serves to express and facilitate opportunities to carry out one’s sense of purpose. The very nature of volunteering means choosing to work without being paid for it. As a result, people choose to spend their time on issues they feel strongly about. If you are greatly concerned about the treatment and well-being of animals, for example, volunteering at an animal shelter will help you address a social problem that is meaningful to you.
-Psychology Today (2017)
Challenge yourselves this year. The greatest growth happens in moments where you are outside of your comfort zone. Get out there, find new situations, push yourself to meet new people outside of your general sphere, and do great things.
To read the full articles referenced in the newsletter follow:
Psychology Today (2017) , psychologytoday.com/blog/the-third-age/201403/5-reasons-why-you-should-volunteer
The Huffington Post (2011) , huffingtonpost.com/uloop/5-reasons-why-you-should-_b_852866.html