If you want to see less of doctors, drugs and the dull drudgery that a mental illness can be, help someone who is worse off than you. In the same way you feel a little nobler after you’ve given your seat up for an elderly person or given a homeless person a dollar, you’ll feel even nobler if you start helping out regularly.
According to the Harvard Medical School and hundreds of other health institutions, volunteering is found to be excellent for mental health in that it helps you be “more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression”. It also helps you expand your social network with likeminded people and helps improve your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Harvard also acknowledges that people who give their time for others also enjoy “better physical health including lower blood pressure thereby lowering your chances of “heart disease, stroke and premature death”. Better still, volunteering doesn’t have to be complex. Even offering to do gardening for an elderly neighbour is a great start.
If you’re considering a career change volunteering it’s also a great way to gain experience in a new field and help you meet people already employed in that industry. And just because you are unpaid doesn’t mean the experience can’t be invaluable thanks to the training some charities provide.
The benefits of volunteering are renowned globally. Here’s Sydney Uni on the topic:
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