3 reasons why volunteer work can improve your mental health
It’s long been known that helping others also makes us happier. But why? How can volunteering enrich our lives? What are the numbers on this?
Volunteering reduces loneliness
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, and especially during the lockdowns, much of the world’s population has had to drastically reduce contact. Much more time was spent at home, and the number of visits and contact with others reached a low point. This had a major impact on everyone’s perceived loneliness. According to a study by the German Center for Gerontology, the loneliness rate of people aged 46 to 90 in 2020 is 1.5 times higher than in previous years. But perceived loneliness did not only increase among older age groups; it also affected all other age groups to the same extent. Volunteering, on the other hand, is an easy way to counteract this feeling and maintain contacts – even in times of pandemic, for example online.
Helping others makes us happy
A German representative study, conducted by opinion researchers from the rheingold Institute in 2018, surveyed more than 1,100 participants on the topic of “social engagement.” It found that volunteers, as well as people who donate money, are generally more satisfied than those who do not get involved. 79% of the volunteers and 73% of the donors stated that the gratitude and joy of the people they help make them happy. More than 60% of the volunteers and donors also noted that they experienced an increase in self-esteem, which was also triggered by social recognition for their commitment.
More meaningfulness in everyday life
In 2017, Deloitte conducted a survey on volunteering. In it, they asked numerous working Americans to what extent volunteering had influenced them. What came out was that 74% of respondents felt that volunteering had given them more sense of purpose in their everyday lives and lives. This increased sense of purpose in their efforts ultimately contributed to an overall better sense of well-being.