"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give" - Sir Winston Churchill
Even the smallest act of giving or kindness counts, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts of giving or kindness, such as volunteering at your local community centre, or joining a community group can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks.
Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
Feelings of happiness and life satisfaction have been strongly linked with active participation in social and community life. Helping, sharing and giving are likely to be linked with an increased sense of self-worth and positive feelings. Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.
Opportunities to volunteer in Warwickshire include:
- heritage and culture
Do-it: Volunteering made easy lets you search through one million national opportunities to volunteer.
Warwickshire's volunteer centres
- North Warwickshire Borough
- Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough
- Rugby Borough
- Stratford-on-Avon District
- Warwick District
Benefits of acts of giving
Acts of giving and kindness can be of particular importance to the development of social cognition in children and young people. For adults, and particularly retirees, giving and sharing are important for defining a sense of purpose in the community and a sense of self-worth. Participation in social life was particularly important for the life satisfaction of retirees.
A 2004 study in 373 older adults found that some aspects of wellbeing were higher in those who did volunteering projects, compared with those who did not. For older people, volunteering is associated with more positive affect and more meaning in life, while offering support to others has been shown to be associated with reduced mortality rates.
The Mental Health Foundation have reported that helping others can:
- promote positive physiological changes in the brain associated with happiness
- bring a sense of belonging and reduces isolation
- help to keep things in perspective
- improve confidence, control, happiness and optimism
- reduce stress
- help get rid of negative feelings
- help us live longer
The more you do for others, the more you do for yourself.
The following observations have been suggested by research.
- Acts of giving and kindness - small and large - are associated with positive mental wellbeing for people of all ages.
- Giving to others and co-operating with them can stimulate the reward areas in the brain, helping to create positive feelings.
- Giving our time to others in a constructive way helps us strengthen our relationships and build new ones.
- Mental wellbeing is enhanced when an individual is able to achieve a sense of purpose in society and, thus, contribute to their community.
- Helping, sharing, giving and team-oriented behaviours are likely to be associated with an increased sense of purpose, increased self-worth and positive feelings.
- Feelings of happiness and life satisfaction have been strongly associated with active participation in social and community life.
- Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy. Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.