Dr. Nicola Finley (Internist)
Volunteering as an Expression of Kindness
Kindness can be defined differently by each of us and acts of kindness can be shown in a multitude of ways. When we express kindness, we care for others and we show generosity. In fact, a special aspect of kindness is not only does the recipient reap the benefits but the giver does as well. An example of this is volunteering. Volunteering is a way to convey kindness by helping others who are in need. At the same time, it is also a way of practicing self-care.
Volunteering is a selfless way of giving back to a community and making a difference in lives of others. This positive impact also extends to the person volunteering as there are health benefits with volunteering. Here are some examples:
1. Enhancing wellness: Research shows that volunteering has a positive impact on the volunteer’s emotional health, physical health and happiness. Volunteering has also been associated with a reduced risk of high blood pressure and cognitive impairment.
2. Improving life satisfaction: Participating in volunteer activities gives volunteers a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. This can also have the effect of increasing their self-confidence and sense of accomplishment.
3. Expanding skills: Volunteers often learn new skills and expand current skills which promotes personal growth. This can be beneficial whether the volunteer is in the workforce or not, especially in retirement. An example of this is augmenting the skills of teamwork and communication which are valuable skills at any age.
4. Promoting social connections: Volunteering allows for social interactions. These connections build stronger social networks. Volunteers meet new people who have similar interests which can lead to the development of new friendships.
Volunteering is altruistic while also being a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Volunteering allows us to share our time and talents with those we are serving. The next time you have an opportunity to volunteer, you’ll be not show kindness to others but you’ll also enrich your life as well.