The Positive Health Science of Volunteering

The Positive Health Science of Volunteering

With everyone working around the clock, engaged in communication day and night, and booked with trying to balance out life events on the weekend, it’s not surprising that many say they’re usually too busy to help with volunteering. However, it turns out, our positive mental health may very well depend on helping others. Donald Friese knows the benefits personally. He works regularly with charity and volunteering, having retired from leading companies and business challenges. 

Donald Friese references that some of the latest research in the field points to the conclusion that volunteering doesn’t just help to recipients.

Whether it be through time, donations, or both, volunteering and engaging in helping others without an expectation of something in return is actually good for our health.

A lot of those benefits come from giving those who engage a change of pace, an avenue through which to reduce stress, a means by which to fend off depression and loneliness by connecting with others socially, and a channel for gaining experience in a new skill. 

The social aspects of volunteering produce most of the advantages people realize with the activity, Donald Friese points out.

In most cases, volunteering means becoming part of a new and different organization and activity than what people are used to. It can provide a huge paradigm shift, which kickstarts the brain into learning again.

New challenges, dynamics, relationships, and cultural adaption helps the brain to grow new wiring and activity levels.

It’s one of the reasons which mental health experts often recommend people continue to read and learn into old age to fend off mental decay. 

Volunteering also usually requires lots of activity and responsibility. People have to be physically involved and engaged with their commitment or they usually aren’t called back.

Organizations can’t afford to have folks who aren’t fully committed. That forces a change of mindset as well as environment.

Donald Friese reflects the experience produces a recurring positive activity for the mind and gives it a new purpose. And improved mental function has a direct influence on the body as well.

Career-wise, it doesn’t hurt to be involved in volunteering either. As a former CEO himself, Donald Friese has seen more than one candidate move ahead because of his dedication to volunteering.

Folks don’t just want to hire someone who does a job well. They also want a resource who is connected with their community and can project goodwill to that community.

No surprise, both educational avenues as well as work pathways recognize the value of volunteering and give it rewards in competitive selection. 

Finally, volunteering just makes people feel good helping others out who need that help, even if it’s just virtual volunteering. There’s a lot of work going around that can’t attract the right skill on a salary basis because the organizations involved can’t afford the cost.

Volunteering gives these entities the ability to obtain valuable skills without the financial barrier being in the way. And for those who provide the help, they get a chance to work on something that is usually different from what they normally would.

Donald Friese notes that too can provide a personal opportunity for achievement. 

For those who move to a new location, it can also be unsettling and hard to connect with new friends and associates. Donald Friese suggests volunteering to help break down those walls.

It gives people an immediate opportunity to make connections locally with folks sharing the same helping interest and living in the same community.

That too can help with mental health by allowing folks to relax, enjoy a new support network, and have friends to talk to in sorting out issues in life. 

In short, Donald Friese sums up that volunteering is good for the soul, and scientific research is backing it up.

So, if you’re feeling a bit out of it, stressed, or just disconnected, give volunteering a try. It may very well be the positive life change that gets you back on track for better things going forward.

It worked for a former CEO like Donald Friese, so why can’t volunteer work for anyone else? 

Christie Lewis
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