How to boost your brain health by volunteering: the surprising mental health advantages of giving back

9 min read
January 19, 2023

Feeling a bit unfulfilled or know someone who is? Consider volunteering at an organization with a mission that matters to you. Volunteering is not only a way to give back to your community and show kindness; it can also have a profound and positive impact on our mental health. Here are some ways volunteering can improve our mental health: 

Find Meaning

By volunteering, we can find a sense of purpose and meaning that goes beyond our regular work or daily routine. Giving our time and talents to help others can give us a sense of fulfillment and perspective on life.

Spark Passion

Volunteering can be a way to explore our interests, meet new people, and even learn from experts. It can be a refreshing break from our usual routine, especially if you spend most of the time in front of a computer.

Reduce Stress

Volunteering can serve as a form of self-care, as it allows us to focus on others and create meaningful connections. By doing so, we can feel more satisfied with giving of our time and talents, which results in an improved mood and lower stress levels.

Lift Mood

Volunteering can be a powerful tool for combating depression by keeping the mind occupied with positive activities, providing a sense of accomplishment, and breaking negative thought patterns.

Increase Happiness

Research has shown that volunteering can have a positive impact on our mental well-being by releasing feel-good hormones and increasing brain activity. By helping others, we can make a positive impact on our community and get a sense of fulfillment.

Connect with Others

Volunteering provides the opportunity to make new friends and expand our social networks. When we find an activity we enjoy, we have a higher chance of meeting people with similar values and interests. Volunteering with a group is a powerful way to gain social and emotional support and also help break the ice with shy and introverted individuals.

Build Self-Confidence

Volunteering provides opportunities to learn new skills and step out of our comfort zone, which can improve self-esteem and confidence. By making a difference in others’ lives, we can gain a sense of pride and identity.

Volunteering can have a significant positive impact on our mental health by providing us with a sense of purpose, lifting our mood, building self-confidence, reducing stress, igniting our passions, connecting us with others, and increasing our happiness. Whatever your skill set, physical ability, and schedule, there is a volunteer opportunity that is right for you. By volunteering, we can all find meaning in action, and feel a sense of fulfillment by giving back to our community.

If you know any high school students passionate about mental health, please share information about our volunteer opportunity to become a Brain Health Advocate!

Through our mental health advocacy program for high school students, teens can not only make a positive difference in their community, but also gain personal benefits in terms of mental well-being. This program is a unique way for students to gain experience, develop new skills, and grow as individuals while making a positive impact in the global youth mental health crisis.

Sources –
Thoits, P. A., & Hewitt, L. N. (2001). Volunteer Work and Well-Being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 42(2), 115–131. https://doi.org/10.2307/3090173