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Have you ever heard of the Happiness Effect? Basically, helping others promotes happiness in your own life. Plain and simple. 

Studies have indicated that the more people volunteer, the happier they are. While giving time to religious organizations has the greatest impact on one's happiness, there are many other areas to choose from when deciding where to devote your time. Of our personal favorites are animal shelters and rescues, for obvious reasons.

Whether you choose to volunteer at an organization involving animals or not, we hope you read through the list of positive benefits that volunteering can have on your health, happiness, and well-being. 

1. Volunteering is good for your health, both mentally and physically

  • Volunteering increases self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. Your sense of accomplishment and good-doing for your community also provides you with a sense of pride. The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive life view. 
  • Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and limits social isolation, a key risk factor for depression. The support system you create for yourself also protects you from stress and depression when going through rough times. 
  • Symptoms of chronic pain and heart disease have been shown to lessen in individuals who volunteer. 

2. Volunteering connects you to others

  • Not only does volunteering strengthen your community, but it can also strengthen your relationships with others. Volunteering as a family can be quite beneficial for your children, who watch everything you do. Not only are you setting a good example, but also showing them how good it feels to help others. 
  • One of the most influential factors when it comes to making new friends is having a shared activity or interest. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people who have common interests and are likely from your same neighborhood. 
  • Interacting with new groups of people will give you the opportunity to practice and develop social skills. This gives even the most shy individuals the chance to slowly branch out and make more friends. 

3. Volunteering can lead to a career advancement

  • Volunteering gives you the opportunity to develop and practice valuable skills that are used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, project planning, and organization. The more you utilize these skills in your volunteer position, the more comfortable you will feel applying yourself in your job. 
  • If you're thinking about making a career change, volunteering is a nice way to try it out without making a long-term commitment. It's also a great way to gain experience in a new field or department. 
  • Having a volunteer position might also expose you to organizations or internships that could benefit your career. 

4. Volunteering is fun! 

  • Most of us tend to volunteer with an organization that coincides with interests and passions, therefore, volunteer "work" might actually be considered fun and relaxing for some. 
  • We tend to come out of volunteering with renewed creativity and motivation that is likely to spill over into our personal and professional lives. 

To read about choosing the right volunteer opportunity and tips on how to get started, check out the full article at here