There are many reasons people choose to volunteer. Usually it’s a desire to make a difference, pay it forward or be part of something bigger than themselves. But what about the many benefits a person gains from volunteering? Below are 10 benefits of volunteering, with special contributions from Cochlear’s Hear-O of the Year winner, Dennis S.:
When it comes to staying happy and healthy, you know what to do—get enough exercise, make good food choices, get plenty of rest—the list goes on. But what you may not know is that there is something else that may also positively impact your health, and that is volunteering.
“It is cliché, but the fact that a person gets more out of volunteering than what they give is so true,” said Hear-O of the Year award winner Dennis S.
While there are many reasons a person chooses to give back, the benefits from volunteering are just as varied. To help narrow things down, we came up with a list of 10 benefits of volunteering as seen in our community. We also asked our Hear-O of the Year award winner Dennis S. to weigh in on how he sees these benefits in his own life.
10 BENEFITS OF VOLUNTEERING
1. May boost energy and increase overall happiness
It’s no secret we feel better when we give back. But, did you know there is a scientific reason behind it? When we do something good, our brain releases dopamine, which in turn gives us a sense of joy.
2. May help combat loneliness and/or isolation from others
Human beings are conditioned to need a social connection with others. Having a set place to go and interact with a group of people on a regular basis can help create a sense of purpose in our lives.
What Dennis had to say: “What I enjoy most about volunteering is that I get the chance to visit with people and answer their questions and concerns. I like being able to put a human aspect on living with cochlear implants.
3. Improves self-esteem
Using what we know to help others makes us feel better about ourselves. And when we feel better about ourselves, the more likely we are to have a brighter, more positive outlook on life.
What Dennis had to say: “Many people with hearing loss are like I was and don’t believe they can be helped. Talking to someone who has had success with a Cochlear Implant helps remove many fears.”
4. May improve overall physical health
According to research published in Psychology and Aging, volunteering has the potential to lower the risk of high blood pressure in people over 50.1 How so, you ask? It could lead to increased activity levels in those who would otherwise be more sedentary and could also lead to stress reduction. Another study went a step further and showed that regular volunteering helps people live longer, but only if they do so with selfless intentions.2
5. Enriches the lives of everyone involved
The benefits of volunteering are seen on both sides of the coin. The volunteer feels a sense of accomplishment and pride in doing good, while the person or organization they are helping reaps the rewards of their efforts.
What Dennis had to say: “I would argue that one of the top comments I get from people I have mentored is not them thanking me for helping them find a solution, but rather that they are now looking for opportunities to do the same. It is a snowball effect. Paying it forward is contagious.”
6. Strengthens ties in your community
Meeting others who have similar likes and interests through volunteering could lead to new friendships that last a lifetime.
What Dennis had to say: “The best part of being part of the volunteer program is the connection I have had with fellow volunteers and with the staff at Cochlear. I get to say to people that if I don’t know the answer to their question that I likely know someone who does, and mean it. I have told many that Cochlear is a unique company in that I have met nearly every level of management and that they all care about you and your story. Sharing that with the other volunteers in this program is a special
7. Teaches new skills
The skills required to volunteer in any given organization can vary greatly. Whether it’s public speaking, written correspondence, one-on-one conversations, working at an event or asking others for contributions of time, talent and treasure, there are plenty of ways we can step outside our comfort zone and learn something new.
What Dennis had to say: “I am involved in volunteering by using nearly every avenue available. I write a blog about the reason I went deaf and how it affects my life. I take part in the Cochlear Community meetings when I can. I have worked health fair events alongside my Engagement Manager and the clinical audiologist for my area for Cochlear. I have talked to people via email, phone and in person. I use opportunities within my daily life to answer questions and assist people in finding resources. My implant clinic has used me in their mentor program. The list is almost endless.”
8. May strengthen job prospects
The skills we’ve acquired through volunteering are most likely transferrable, which may make us stronger candidates for certain job opportunities. Listing volunteer involvements on your resume suggests to an employer that you are a dedicated, altruistic person who is willing to go above and beyond for causes you believe
9. Allows you to explore new interests
Our personal and professional lives are busy, and the daily routine can get monotonous. Volunteering allows us to take a break from everyday life and immerse ourselves in something new.
10. Adds some fun into your life
No matter how and why we choose to volunteer, there is likely lots of fun to be had. From making new friends while writing letters to congress to participating in a walk/run supporting a cause near and dear to your heart, the wide variety of activities helps keep our roles as volunteers fresh and exciting.
Interested in volunteering with Cochlear? Visit the Volunteer Hub located in your Cochlear Family account to learn more.
Are you a hearing implant candidate looking to connect with a mentor? Visit Cochlear Connections.
- Sneed, R. S., & Cohen, S. (2013). A prospective study of volunteerism and hypertension risk in older adults. Psychology and Aging, 28(2), 578-586.
- Konrath, S., Fuhrel-Forbis, A., Lou, A., & Brown, S. (2012). Motives for volunteering are associated with mortality risk in older adults. Health Psychology, 31(1), 87-96.