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Volunteering: Give a little bit gain a lot

 

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Volunteering: Give a little bit gain a lot

So you know that volunteering is a good thing, but did you also know that giving back enhances six key areas of well-being? Studies out of Vanderbilt University’s department of sociology connect volunteering with improvements in happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, a sense of control over life, physical health, and depression. That’s pretty impressive!

But beyond the physiological and psychological lift you get from donating yourself to a cause that’s bigger than you, volunteering presents a powerful opportunity for spiritual growth. When you help those in need, something inside of you opens up and expands, providing you with more time and energy than you ever thought you’d have to give.

Volunteering is so valuable on so many levels, but if you’re like many, fear, lack of time, and difficulty choosing a cause can hamper your best intentions to give back. Here are some simple ways to overcome those hurdles:

Fear: Does being seen for who you really are scare you? If so, embrace it! Volunteering can make you vulnerable as you will likely be working with people who are very far from you in terms of life experience. But vulnerability is the doorway to connection, so allow yourself to live authentically in these moments of service and in turn you’ll experience genuine fulfillment.

Time: A wise mentor once said that having “no time” is merely an excuse for not taking control of your life. Think about it. Do you make time for the things that really matter? Of course you do! This should be no different. Being creative can help you fit this into your busy lifestyle. If you have children, make it a family affair and you’ll have a meaningful way to spend time together. In reality, the options to help and volunteer are endless. You only have to look around your neighborhood.

How to Choose?: If you don’t know where to start, think about what interests you. Follow your passion! Do you love children? Are you musically or artistically inclined?  You could volunteer at an orphanage by teaching kids how to draw or sing. Do you feel strongly about the ill and weak? Spend time at a hospital or senior home. You will always find someone who simply needs a friendly ear. You will need to quietly contemplate what speaks to your heart. Once you do that where to commit will become crystal clear. And remember, don’t feel like you have to do it all.

Because in the end, it really does boil down to heart. Says David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation: “Volunteering makes the heart grow stronger.”

 

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Dana Dinnawi

Dana Dinnawi is an Integrative Nutrition health coach specializing in empowering women to improve their health and family life. She received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she studied more than one hundred dietary theories and a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. She can be reached through her website and Facebook page.

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