In the run up to the festive season, it seems timely to focus on the positive wellbeing benefits that come from ‘giving back,’ or volunteering and contributing to something greater than our own self-interest.
We’re not suggesting you give all your time to volunteering or pour money into charities (although that’s good, too). However, Christmas is the perfect time to take a moment and consider:
How might you do something for someone else, with no thought of benefit or reward for yourself?
The essence of being human is cooperating and contributing to build a better existence for ourselves and others. Better yet, giving selflessly is clearly associated with higher overall wellbeing – so it makes sense for our own sakes to do it.
Yet, our recent GLWS research shows 50% of leaders aren’t involved in voluntary or community activities.
And that means you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to enhance your wellbeing and performance.
Ways to give and boost your wellbeing into the bargain.
You don’t have to build houses in Cambodia or raise thousands by cycling around Australia… there are lots of ways to do something positive in your own community.
You could start small, such as buying an extra food item and donating it to a charity bin or wrapping an extra gift for a disadvantaged child.
Or try something bigger, like giving time to your employer’s volunteering scheme (or lobbying for a scheme if they don’t have one) or helping out at your child’s school or sporting club.
Volunteering: 5 benefits with a wellbeing impact.
Although we encourage you to give selflessly, volunteering does result in demonstrable positive wellbeing effects for the volunteer, such as:
- Health: Volunteers say that they feel better – physically, mentally and emotionally. You’ll also get a dopamine high in exchange for altruistic behaviour.
- Stress: Volunteering helps you manage and lower your stress levels.
- Purpose: You’ll feel a deeper connection to your communities and to others.
- Engagement: You’ll be more informed, engaged and involved in managing your health.
- Skills development: Employees who volunteer benefit their employers with improved health and new skills they can apply in the workplace.
What about it? Can you do something for others today?
“By putting aside our selfish interests to serve someone or something larger than ourselves – by devoting our lives to giving rather than taking – we are expressing our fundamental humanity.” ~Emily Esfahani Smith