Have you ever wondered why certain people devote their lives to giving back to the community and helping others around them? Or why some people make charitable contributions and others do not? The answer has a lot to do with what Tony Robbins refers to as the six basic human needs—the needs that help to shape human behaviour.
According to the philanthropist and entrepreneur, the six basic human needs can be defined as certainty, uncertainty/variety, significance, connection/love, contribution and growth. While the first four help to shape our personalities, the need for growth and contribution help to shape our spiritual needs. When we help others, and give back to the community in a positive way, we are effectively achieving the human need for contribution.
The Benefits of Contributing to Society
As stated by Tony Robbins, many humans associate self-worth with net-worth. However, money cannot buy happiness—but altruism can. Making the decision to selflessly give back to the community can provide volunteers with personal benefits that help to improve their sense of self-satisfaction and self-worth. After all, Albert Einstein once said: “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
According to the ACT Government, volunteering benefits the economy, leads to social cohesion, and strengthens the community as a whole. Additionally, volunteers themselves benefit from giving back to society, helping them to improve psychological and physical well-being and increased social inclusion. Volunteering gives humans the opportunity to connect with new people from different types of backgrounds, helping volunteers to expand their social circles.
Plus, the social benefits of volunteering may provide the volunteer with important networking skills and resources, which may lead to more meaningful career opportunities. For instance, giving back to society helps volunteers to learn tools and skills that may be helpful in gaining new employment. Volunteers often learn how to manage people and how to work with a diverse group of individuals from different walks of life. Plus, volunteers obtain useful fundraising and financial skills.
How Giving Back Improves Your Health
Obtaining work and life skills and reaching spiritual development aren’t the only personal benefits of contributing to society. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the power of contribution goes as far as improving your own personal health. Studies show that contributing to society and giving back lead to happier, healthier individuals who live longer than those who do not strive to help others.
According to these studies, volunteering and helping others leads to less depression and lower levels of stress. Plus, many volunteers experience lowered blood pressure and more happiness. Giving back and helping others leads to a “helper’s high”, which is known to release serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin in the brain—otherwise known as the feel-good chemicals. For this reason, many volunteers quite literally become addicted to giving back and helping others. As you can see, contributing to society and helping others is one healthy addiction that many more of us could benefit from.
10 Ways to Constructively Contribute to Society
So, how can humans achieve a helper’s high in a positive, healthy way? Below, we’ll provide you with ten great ideas to help you get started.
1. Plant a tree to benefit the environment and improve the air we breathe.
2. Donate blood to save lives.
3. Benefit the environment and remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle as often as possible. Shop with your own reusable bags, say no to using disposable products, and purchase biodegradable or compostable products whenever possible.
4. Drive safely, avoid distracted driving and remain aware of other drivers on the road.
5. Volunteer at a local nursing home, soup kitchen, retirement home or disability centre.
6. Start your own neighbourhood watch team—be on the lookout for suspicious behaviour and report anything concerning or strange. Keep an eye out on your neighbours and lend a helping hand to senior or elderly neighbours.
7. Volunteer at an animal shelter and walk the dogs, clean the small animal cages, and socialise with the homeless animals in need. If you see a stray or lost animal on the road, bring them to a local rescue or animal control centre.
8. Chaperone school field trips, offer to clean up the school playground or school grounds, or mentor and tutor students in need.
9. Coach a local sport’s team and help kids experience the benefits of staying active, remaining physically fit and learning a new skill.
10. Sometimes, contributing to society isn’t about serving food to the homeless or delivering Meals on Wheels. Improving your social skills, approaching others in a friendly way and remembering to be polite and smile at strangers is one way to give back to the community on a regular basis.
However you decide to give back to the community, you’ll surely find that the power of contribution is rewarding, meaningful, and just what you need to achieve optimal physical, mental, and emotional well-being.