The Velvet Mind - Article  


Achieve health & happiness by volunteering !

    Sure, volunteering is great for your community, but have you ever thought about the positive impact it could have on your own life? The benefits of volunteering are well documented and include reducing stress, getting fit and active, developing your career and meeting new people. Additionally, making a positive difference to other people can give you a ‘helper’s high’ – the feeling of well being associated with volunteering. Dr Sandra Scott of Big Brother and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here says, “By being a volunteer and improving the lives of other people we get positive feedback and this motivates us to continue”.

Build your confidence
Many volunteers encounter a variety of new challenges when they begin giving time in their communities. By sharing new experiences with new people, you can pick up skills that will give you confidence to face challenges in other areas of your life.

Meet new friends
There’s no better place to meet like-minded individuals than through volunteering for a campaign or cause you believe in. Working together to bring about a change is a great way to bond with others and become part of a community that can stay in touch long after your work is done. Plus, you could meet people from a diverse range of backgrounds – people you may never come across in your daily life.

Have more fun
Many volunteers are surprised at how much fun it can be to help others. By taking a bit of time to think about your interests you’ll be able to find the opportunity that suits you best. That’s why 96% of people who volunteer are glad they did, and 77% plan on volunteering well into the future.
(TimeBank survey of TimeGivers)

Put things in perspective
Getting out there and doing something new can give you a fresh lease of life and allow you some space away from your troubles. Listening to other people’s problems is a good way to stop thinking about your own and to put them in perspective!

63% of 25 – 34 year olds say volunteering helps them feel less
71% of volunteers say volunteering helps combat depression
Almost 1 in 3 (31%) 18 – 24 year olds say they have taken less
  time off work since volunteering
  (Giving Time Beats Stress, Make a Difference Day Survey – ICM Research September ’04)

"My mentoring experience has made me more understanding and given me perspective in my personal and professional life. I've discovered new sides to myself. I had to learn to see the world from their point of view and understand their challenges, which was a very enriching and valuable experience." Mentor - Toynbee Hall Stepney Children's Fund

Where do I start?
If you need more proof, why not give it a try yourself! TimeBank is a national charity dedicated to volunteering. We’re here for people like you, whose skills and experience are in demand, but don't know what to do about it or where to start. Whether you want meet new people or just feel good about yourself, TimeBank can hook you up with a volunteering opportunity that could change your life for the better. Whether you’ve only got an hour to spare or you can commit to regular volunteering, there’s something out there for you. Our website provides you with an essential guide to volunteering. You’ll find details of organisations that need your help, and inspirational stories about why others volunteer.

Make a real difference this year. Call one of the TimeBank team on 0845 601 4008 or visit our website at to find out about opportunities near you.


Andersen Counselling & Advice, Chelmsford, Essex UK.
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