UCT in Action

Making a Difference Together

How volunteering can help with stress

Posted on Jan 10, 2013 by: Linda Fisher

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”

Albert Schweitzer, one of the great humanitarians of the 20th century, wrote these words as an expression of his determination to give back to a world he felt had given much to him.

There’s little in life that compares with the gratifying feeling of doing good for someone without expecting anything in return. Many people volunteer for selfless reasons, but making a difference through community service can do a lot of good for the volunteer too! Research indicates that helping others plays a valuable role in stress management. While donating your time can’t always solve your problems, volunteering can provide some of the following positive effects:

  • A good feeling about yourself
  • A feeling of connection to others
  • A sense of meaning and greater purpose in your life
  • A better perspective about your stress
  • A reminder to feel gratitude
  • An opportunity to use your unique gifts

Doing good for others can make you feel good about yourself – and help you forget about your stress. Concentrating on something else is the main reason why volunteering helps to lower stress levels. By focusing on what you’re doing in the moment, you can leave behind other problems you might have and begin to see that you’re not as stressed as you thought. This can give your body a chance to recover from stress and make you feel healthy and happy again. On many levels volunteering can be a beautiful thing!

Here are just some of the ways you can get involved as a UCT volunteer:

  • Join events and programs to help people with intellectual disabilities
  • Organize programs and events for people facing cancer
  • Work with youth programs and athletic teams
  • Volunteer at homeless shelters, food banks and soup kitchens
  • Support environmental projects
  • Provide support for veterans & their families

Why not make volunteering regularly a priority for 2013 and see how it helps your stress levels? Consider starting with small projects that will still make a big difference to someone in need. Do what you can, rather than thinking that you’re too busy to make a real difference. It might just strengthen you as well as your community!


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