When was the last time you smiled at someone on the street?
Or let someone get on the train before you, even though you were there first? Or went one step further and volunteered your time and energy to help others? If last year put a spotlight on mindfulness, then perhaps this year is the time for kindfulness?
When you’re nice to someone, your brain releases endogenous opioids and oxytocin, giving you a natural high often referred to as ‘helper’s high’, as Jody Shield, inspirational speaker and author of LifeTonic explains:
Positive affirmations, whether it’s from yourself or from someone else, have the power to completely lift your mood.”
As well as helping others, volunteering has been shown to have a positive impact on the lives of those who volunteer – assisting in gaining new skills and boosting self-esteem. Through volunteering you can:
Take on a challenge – Getting involved in something new can be a real challenge. Volunteering can help you achieve personal goals, develop new skills and practise your talents. Sometimes a volunteer experience can lead you to something you never even thought about, or help you to discover a hobby or interest you were unaware of.
Be part of your community – Volunteering can help build stronger communities. By becoming involved in your community, you can feel part of something outside your family or circle of friends.
Meet new people – Getting involved as a volunteer allows you to meet lots of different kinds of people and make new friends.
Improve your wellbeing – Research demonstrates that volunteering can lead to better health.
Drive your personal development – If you are thinking about career development, about getting a job or returning to work, the experience you gain as a volunteer can be useful.
Have fun – Volunteering is an excellent leisure activity. Most volunteers greatly enjoy what they do – that’s why they keep on doing it. Finding new interests and hobbies can be fun, relaxing and energising.
Volunteering is a two-way process with benefits to both organisation and individual. As a volunteer you will have your own motivations and reasons for getting involved. A good volunteer-involving organisation will ask you about your motivations and try to meet your needs as well as their own.
Being able to give back to the local community is a perfect fit for a business like Hitch. Each year we invest a portion of our revenue into the Hitch Fund to invest in local community social innovation projects that have the potential to be scaled for the social good. Hitch also donates time to work pro bono for organisations or at a reduced fee.
But it also feels right for Hitch’s individual employees – from church groups to local scout troops, from debt advice to supporting families in need – many of us are volunteers in the local community in our spare time.
Volunteers’ Week is celebrated between 1st and 7th June every year. It is a week in which the UK celebrates volunteers and says thank you to them for the contribution that they make.
So if you’re thinking about embracing kindfulness during 2018 then take a look at the links below to motivate and help you in the right direction:
www.volunteersweek.org – for more information about Volunteers Week and becoming a volunteer.
www.communityactionwirral.org.uk – for opportunities to volunteer in the Wirral area.
www.justaddspice.org – our UK-based client is leading the way with Time Credits which is having a huge impact on stimulating volunteering.