Happiness is volunteering 10



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Have you ever thought about volunteering? Maybe you’re one of the six million Australians who already do. Many of our Starts at Sixty readers are dedicated volunteers in their local communities and we think they’re onto something big.

Official research shows you’ll be a happier person if you’re a volunteer.

Brett Williamson, CEO of Volunteering Australia says not only are volunteers helping to make the lives of everyone around them happier, they too are happier as a result.

“Research tells us that just a few hours of volunteer work makes a difference in people’s happiness. It’s proven that volunteers are happier, healthier and even sleep better than those who don’t volunteer”.

‘Give Happy, Live Happy’ is the theme of National Volunteer Week 2015 from 11-17 May.

“We want to make Australia the happiest place on earth by asking every Australian to give as much time as they can. Whether it’s one hour of your time or an ongoing commitment, it’s easy to share your skills and interests to give happy and live happy,” Mr Williamson said.

Did you know, if volunteering was an industry it would be the largest in Australia? Volunteers contribute a staggering $290 billion a year to Australia’s economy.

National Volunteer Week is a chance to thank them for their commitment and service and to encourage other Australians to take up the volunteering cause.

Here are some good reasons why volunteering could be your new calling in life:

Fun facts about volunteering

  • Volunteers are happier, healthier and sleep better than those who don’t volunteer – doctors should recommend it.
  • 96% of volunteers say that it “makes people happier”.
  • 95% of volunteers say that volunteering is related to feelings of wellbeing.
  • Volunteering results in a “helper’s high”, a powerful physical and emotional feeling experienced when directly helping others.
  • Just a few hours of volunteer work makes a difference in happiness and mood.
  • Sustained volunteering is associated with better mental health.
  • Altruistic emotions and behaviours are associated with greater well-being, health, and longevity.
  • A strong correlation exists between the well-being, happiness, health, and longevity of people who are emotionally kind and compassionate in their charitable helping activities.
  • The experience of helping others provides meaning, a sense of self-worth, a social role and health enhancement.

From 1995 to 2010, the number of volunteers in Australia has doubled from 3.2 million to 6.1 million. But there’s still room for more volunteers across a range of sectors and in every region of the country.

If you’re interested in volunteering, go to www.voluteeringaustralia.org to search over 10,000 vacant volunteering positions and find the perfect role for you.


And if you’re already volunteering, tell us about it. How do you volunteer your time to help others and how happy does it make you?  Is volunteering your secret to happiness?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Meals On Wheels, twice a week, Fire Brigade Auxiliary, Drs Appt for Elderly friends, used to do Primary, Secondary schools parents help few times a week, when kids were at school. Love being a volunteer

  2. Not everyone appreciates volunteers.
    My local Council brag about having 500 volunteers working in excess of 72000 hours with an estimated dollar value in excess of 2 million Dollars per year.
    Once a year they had “volunteers week” which consisted mainly of them hiring the local cinema for the day and gave volunteers one movie ticket each to the video of their choice.
    Then some bright spark Councillor decided that was costing $24000 so they cancelled it and kicked the volunteers in the gut at the same time
    So no more volunteering for me, if a job exists for a volunteer they can pay a wage for it as they just want free labour

  3. I read newspaper articles on Print Handicap Radio.Very rewarding !

  4. I volunteer at a couple of places but the one I enjoy the most is with the National Parks. With a group of friends we help maintain the Great Walks tracks in our area. We have a ball and are giving something back to the community and enviroment.

  5. I love volunteering! I believe if you have some skills you should share them. I am a volunteer at my local library and people can book me for 30minutes help with any problem they are having with their iPad or Mac. I am also a volunteer adjudicator for the schools Debating competition. I am not an art or craft person so this keeps my retired life interesting and forces me to keep up my learning. I am so lucky to now have this special time after a very busy working life.

  6. I volunteer at St. Vincent De Paul in my home town and love doing what I do, sorting linen and sometimes in the retail area on the till. I have been volunteering for about 10 years and plan to continue for as long as I am able.

  7. I volunteer as a peer support worker for people with brain injury in the health system. I like being able to give back to others the sort of help I received.

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