by Carmen Wright, volunteer contributor
March Fourth is Do Something Day, and we encourage you to let that something be volunteering. Why volunteer? Well, aside from helping someone else, volunteering can actually benefit your health and personal development.
In an article for Harvard Health Publications, editor Stephanie Watson outlines some of the benefits of volunteering:
• Improves mental health because you feel socially connected.
• Lowers blood pressure, either because it incorporates physical activities or because it reduces stress.
• Helps you live longer because of improved health.
Maybe you think you're too busy to volunteer. Well, volunteering can also help your personal and professional development. This great TED talk by Tuan Nguyen shares some great examples of incorporating volunteer activities with work. According to Nguyen, volunteering can help you:
• Learn gratitude.
• Find passion.
• Improve your creativity.
• Become more efficient by learning to maximize resources.
• Improve your confidence, which helps you gain leadership skills.
But whether you benefit physically, mentally, or professionally, the key to volunteering is to make your motivations genuinely altruistic. By focusing on helping someone else, you create positive energy that affects everyone around you, including yourself.
So march forth, and be good to yourself by being good to others! Learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Red Cross.