Guest Post: 6 Benefits of Volunteering on Our Mental Health, by Cassandra Chiu

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Disabled Peoples Association Annual Reunion Dinner as MC for the evening with co-host Anand Vikash.

The theme was “disco fever”, hence my very glam glittery head gear… Not sure it suits me, it’s not my usual style, but it’s all in the spirit of the event! It was such fun and is always a privilege to give back to the community. Here are some photos from the evening.

Besides doing something we are passionate about, wanting to see the world be a better place and feeling good about it, there are also many benefits of volunteering to our mental health. By using our energy, skills, time and resources meaningfully to help others, we can not only reap the rewards of working together to make this world better, we will also benefit our mental well-being. Research shows that volunteering for as little as 2-3 hours weekly or 100 hours annually, benefits our mental health the most, as long as it’s rewarding to us and not another addition to our ever-growing to-do list.

Here is a list of 7 benefits according to this counsellor.

1. Sense of Meaning and Purpose
At whatever stage of life, volunteering can give us meaning, purpose and fulfillment in ways different than what we do or have done for work or school. No matter the cause, the willingness to do what’s needed in the moment, no matter how humbling the task, can put things in perspective and help grow compassion for others while expanding our
minds and world view.

2. Sparks Passion

Volunteering is a fun way to explore new things and people who may be experts in their fields. Just by pure osmosis alone we can absorb the passions of masters. It is also an energizing escape from your daily routine, especially if you sit in front of a computer all day and long to be more active.

3. Increases Confidence

When volunteering we can be called to learn new skills or try new activities, that stimulate us in ways we may not experience otherwise. In growing our skillset to make a difference for others, we can gain a sense of pride and identity, which can lead to having a more positive view of our self.

4. Keeps Depression Away

Volunteering increases motivation by providing a sense of accomplishment. It can also keep our thoughts diverted from destructive thinking habits like rumination, negative thinking, and being overly critical of oneself, which leads to Depression.

5. Lessening Stress

Whether we are working on animals, children or the marginalized, when our focus is on something we find meaningful, and our attention is on something or someone else, our own worries melts away. The more purpose we can find in our volunteering, the more
satisfaction we gain in the giving of our time and  efforts, which improves our mood and reduces stress.

6. Prevents Isolation

Another hallmark of Depression is isolation. Volunteering provides a safe space for us to step out of isolation whilst helping us feel accomplished. It can also expend our social and professional network and help in making new friends who share our worldview and values. It’s possible to create long lasting friendships even after the volunteering ends.

If you find it meaningful to foster a more inclusive society for the disabled, why not check out volunteering with the Disabled Peoples Association.

The Disabled People’s Association (DPA) is the only cross-disability organisation in Singapore dedicated to advocacy,policy and research work. DPA aims to do this by influencing decision-makers to implement policies and programmes aimed at promoting social integration of persons with disabilities. They also aim to raise public awareness of and share experiences concerning disability and seek solutions through round-table discussions, government consultations, position papers, and commentaries and letters to the media.

Happy volunteering! And here’s to your great mental well-being and the world being a better place with more meaning and purpose.

 

Till next time,

C

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