As a result of a continuous increase in economic growth and rapid industrialization specifically in North American countries, Americans have less free time than ever before. According to a 2021 study, Americans only have an average of four hours and twenty-six minutes of free time per week, with four in ten saying they have less. With the suppression of available time, it can seem impossible to think of anything else, least of all taking time for anything else other than rejuvenating oneself. As a result, the idea of volunteering typically falls by the wayside but is an essential activity for not just progressing the well-being of those in need, positively contributing to global issues, but also for adding purpose and fulfillment to your life.
Volunteering can do wonders when seeking to foster new connections and broadening your social understanding. Volunteering can fully immerse you in the activities of a community and serve as an opportunity to make it a better place. It can be a place to meet like-minded individuals who share the same passion or concern in the current position of a social issue. More rewardingly, connections can be made with those who are volunteering and those who are being assisted. The OneProsper International ‘English Learning Buddy’ program does an excellent job in nurturing these connections in particular. Throughout 10 (if desired, more) weeks, virtual tutoring sessions with an assigned female buddy attending a school in India take place. Volunteers receive the opportunity to tutor their buddies in English. Not only are volunteers helping their buddies learn a life-changing skill but the volunteers are also able to diversify their understanding of the tradition and daily activities of those living in Indian culture. Generally, contact between buddy and volunteer lasts long after the session has ended and long-lasting friendships are often created as a result.
Correspondingly, volunteering is a significant asset in improving your mental and physical health. Depending on the activity, being a volunteer can keep you active and mobile without a demanding physical workout. As opposed to watching TV, continuously looking at your phone or studying, choosing a physically active volunteering opportunity can make an impact, however small, on your daily physical health. Mentally, research has shown that volunteering leads to lower rates of depression and anxiety. Volunteering typically reduces stress and increases positive feelings by releasing dopamine (a chemical released in the brain that makes you feel good). By virtue of dedicated service to others, volunteers report experiencing feelings of appreciation and a sense of meaning which can have a stress-reducing effect. Reduced stress decreases the risk of many physical and mental health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, depression, anxiety and other illnesses. This overall improves mental health and the longevity of a healthy physique.
Furthermore, there is an endless array of volunteer positions and activities that provide an opening to intercorporate previous hobbies or skills in a fashion that assists others. A skill as simple as knowing how to ride a bike can be extremely beneficial to those in need who may not have received this experience prior. The idea that volunteering is nonlinear can open up avenues to develop expertise in practically anything, and through this promote a more open mindset.
It is understandable that with the constant influx of tasks, and an increase in the busyness of our lives that it can be difficult to set aside time to volunteer. However, it is vital to keep in mind that every little bit helps, and even the smallest action can make an indescribable impact on someone’s life. Learn more about how you can help our mission by visiting OneProsper International’s page on how to help.