Have you ever felt so good after helping someone else? If so you are not alone! There are so many ways to volunteer your time and skills to help others while giving yourself the gift of self-care. Unified Caring Association (UCA) gives more than three cheers for volunteers.
Volunteering does more than we often think!
When we give our time and knowledge through volunteering we feel a ‘helper’s high’. This phrase was coined by Allen Luks. He defines this as “…the sense of euphoria that can be experienced soon after helping someone else.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM) During this ‘high’ there are two phases. The strongest is the first phase. This phase is characterized by an uplifting and euphoric mood. This is followed by phase two where there is a longer lasting sense of calm. This is almost like taking three big, quick breaths for the mind! What is most interesting is that “..the greatest effect (the high) was observed in helping strangers.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM) As when we talk about meditation and or mindfulness activities we see a reduced risk in depression. We infer that the same positive effects happen during volunteering activities as those of meditation and or grounding yourself in nature.
How else can volunteering help us?
Along with creating a healthy, caring social network “…volunteerism was associated with a markedly lower risk of dying. Depending on the study, the decrease in death rates ranged between 20 to 60%.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM) This lower risk of dying can be linked to how those who volunteer take care of their own personal health. Often times those who volunteer make a larger effort to take care of their well-being. An example is regular preventive care visits to their doctor.
Sharing caring through connection
When we are volunteering we are likely exerting “…its positive health effects by connecting people to others and to an activity that they find meaningful. Achieving connection, purpose, and meaning is critical to attenuating stressors of life—particularly loneliness. Since stress is a major cause of disease, especially heart disease, the ability to quench the need for connection, purpose, and meaning can bring about beneficial and salutary changes for people. And when there is [a] purpose and we are connected to others, we take care of ourselves.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM)
When UCA held a recent scholarship contest. One of the questions asked was in regards to if there is one thing you would change in the world, what would it be? We are still moved by one response written. This was by TiAnna Olivas. She writes, “Volunteering not only has a positive impact on the people and organization, it reshapes the way you view life as well. Volunteering provides the opportunity to meet new people, gain new experiences, and make a productive influence on the world around you…I have gained so much from my personal experiences with volunteering. I volunteer with the local pantry and the people there are so kind and have taught me so much. Volunteering with them, I have witnessed how they live an abundant life, filled with making the people around them happy. I strive to be like them, being a light in this dark world. (https://www.unifiedcaring.org/tianna-olivas/)
Unified Caring Association has suggested resources to begin, continue or expand volunteering. One resource is the National Volunteering Caregiving Alliance. Through this network members can connect to about 700 communities throughout the U.S. This network is to help provide volunteer caregivers by connecting community programs and organizations to those in need.
A second resource available for UCA members is access to The Corporation for National and Community Service. This organization plays a key role in supporting the culture of service in the U.S.A. It is here that you can find a volunteering opportunity. There are so many volunteer categories, the sky’s the limit! For example we could search for volunteer opportunities in food banks and soup kitchens, collecting clothing and items in need for the homeless, or spending time assisting the elderly.
In short, volunteering is not only helpful to those you are spending time with, but helpful in our own self-care journey as well. Let’s give many cheers for those of us that spend time volunteering. Thank you for all you do!
Would you like to know more about Unified Caring Association? Check out our blogs on UCA, Caring Action, and Caring the UCA Way! Would you like to keep up with UCA activities? Check us out on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter for updates throughout the week!
Living in full self-expression helps you to tune in to your inner guidance system and live an inspired life that only YOU can live.
Dare to be yourself, no matter how different it makes you feel from the rest of the crowd. Authenticity affords you the privilege of becoming who you were truly meant to be. The world is counting on you. We need you to be YOU and no one else. You just need to show up!
Being authentic simply means working to uncover your true self. However, sometimes what we discover is not what we were hoping for. When this happens, we must review, reflect and retry. In other words, we must align our actions with our values. No one is perfect! Living our lives from a place of awareness and consciousness helps us to become the best version of our true self. Authenticity helps us to process our feelings through accuracy and truth, rather than through an illusion.
At UCA, we care about your life. We want to help you have a better life, a more vibrant life and a healthier life. Our specially curated benefits and resources are designed to encourage self care, and promote greater happiness. Let us help you be healthier, inspire more caring acts for yourself, family and community, and save money through our many member discounts and savings benefits. Become a UCA member today!
When the team at UCA noticed that the Central Coast Kinship Center Foster and Adoptive Placement Program had a need on its wish list. This was the very basic safety item of car seats. We knew we had to help. After meeting, we decided to purchase all of the car seats they requested. Special care was given to select a high quality, best safety rated product that adjusts in size from newborn to toddler. Our friends at Kinship were thrilled to receive the gifts!
More than 50,000 children in California are waiting for a safe home and loving family that will be there for life. Kinship Center builds adoptive and other families where children can heal from past abuse, neglect or abandonment. This helps these children grow into healthy adults. They help 2,500 children each year. Most kids many others consider too difficult: severely traumatized children, older teenagers, children with disabilities, large sibling groups, and drug affected infants.
We feel happiest when we know that we can make a difference in the world through the promotion of caring. Unified Caring Association has other caring acts listed on their website in the Caring Action tab. We also love teaming up with nonprofits to support programs that line up with C. A. R. E.: Children, Animals, Reforestation, and Elderly. It says it all when we say at the top our our website, “Your life is what we care about.”