Getting Hooked On The Helper’s High
Dear Dr. LeCrone:
Recently I attended a volunteer recognition dinner where you spoke briefly about the benefits of volunteerism.
You mentioned a term that caught my attention, “The helpers high.” During my many years of volunteerism, I have felt a peace and sense of joy that is very intense and profound after providing help as a volunteer.
Can you please write on the benefits of volunteerism in hopes of encouraging your readers to derive their own benefit by providing random acts of kindness?
-A reader in Texas
The rewards of volunteerism are numerous. Here are but a few of these blessings.
• Volunteering is a way to share your personal gifts and lifetime experiences with others.
• Many people experience the “attitude of gratitude” and begin to recognize their own blessings when they help others who are far less fortunate and in need.
• Helping others can be of great assistance in deflating negative self-centeredness and self-absorption. Focusing on the needs of others rather than on one’s own perceived problems is one of the greatest elixirs that exist for enhancing a person’s mental health. It is said that when we care for others we care for ourselves.
• Volunteering provides the chance for people to try something new and challenges them to work outside their comfort zone. Many volunteers find a new talent when they begin helping others and continue to fine-tune already existing talents.
• Volunteering can allow individuals to fulfill lifelong dreams and ambitions. Many volunteers choose to serve in an area that fulfills their inner-most desires, which too often have taken a backseat to school, career, and family.
• Volunteering opens doors to new communities, friends, and professional contacts. You can develop or share networking skills, improve organizational or management expertise, and increase interpersonal proficiency.
• Many volunteers find that their volunteer service builds confidence, self-esteem, and healthy attitudes as they help others. Finding new skills and talents, meeting new people, and serving others can truly help you feel good about yourself.
• Volunteering is a great way to explore possible career options, and it allows you to discover whether or not you like certain kinds of work without making drastic career changes.
It can be a life-changing experience for everyone involved. Remember, many who start volunteering become “hooked” for life.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright © 2007