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When The “Like”Button Isn’t Enough: 6 Reasons Why Everyone Should Volunteer For A Cause

When The “Like”Button Isn’t Enough: 6 Reasons Why Everyone Should Volunteer For A Cause

Huge advancements in medicine, technology, and etc. over the past decades have ensured that most of us in developed countries live in big cities where we don’t have to worry about keeping our bellies full, sheltering ourselves from the elements, getting medical attention, receiving education and having access to all kinds of luxuries and entertainment. However this is not the case with a large number of people across the globe, people who live in poverty and don’t have access to even the basic life necessities, let alone luxuries. The sad truth is that there are a number of problems in the world that require our full attention and devotion.

There are plenty of causes, but very few people willing to actually help out

Some of the biggest problems in undeveloped countries are the following: lack of effective education and medical facilities, lack of food and water, poaching and the destruction of habitats of many endangered species, rampant prejudice towards people of different ethnicity or sexuality, homelessness, and people struggling with addiction or emotional and psychological problems. There are an estimated 150 million homeless children roaming the streets of the world left to their own devices.

Simply clicking a like button or sharing an article does nothing to help deal with these issues – we can all be aware of these problems, but unless someone actually does something about them, these problems will continue to plague humanity. Every little bit helps, and there are several good reasons why more people should get involved.

1. Your effort will make an actual difference

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GVN make a difference

    How many of us are just toiling away at our jobs, waiting for the workday to fly past, so we can go home? How many students are just sitting around clicking away on the internet feeling bored out of their mind? There is no real purpose to it and you can’t see any serious changes being made. Even when raising awareness or collecting money for a cause by distributing simple promotional items, you can see the change on people’s faces as they ask about more information on how they can help.

    You can see just how much funds you have collected, and you know that they will go towards creating homes, distributing food and medical materials or building an animal sanctuary. When you can clearly see how your actions are making a direct impact, then you are motivated to keep pushing forward – e.g. when you go out and help nurture a baby tiger so that it can be released back into the wild or when you spend a few hours teaching poverty-stricken children English.

    2. You develop strong connections and learn to work in a team

    GV teamwork

      There is a very warm feeling that comes over you when you see another person wearing a blood donor shirt, wearing a silicone bracelet from a fundraising event or a “bracelet of hope” where the funds collected from sales go towards fighting aids in Africa. The feeling of camaraderie you get when working with people on the project and the bonds you create with the local people – especially the children – are something that will stick with you for life.

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      You can keep in touch with your fellow volunteers, make some friends, and even meet the person you decide to share your life with. Another bonus is that you learn to work as part or even lead a team, work under stressful conditions and use outside-the-box thinking to find quick solutions to problems. When you engage in physically demanding activities like building, planting gardens and child care, you learn about good work ethics and can even improve your fitness.

      3. You will develop a new understanding and appreciation of nature and different cultures

      WLV develop appreciation

        We tend to become very short-sighted and even narrow-minded if we never leave our little city or our home country. Most people have never seen any animals – except dogs, cats and rats – in their natural environment or have never spent a day in the wild. There is just so much to learn about different cultures and about nature in general. Being so close to these creatures and so far from the luxuries of the modern world helps you gain a new perspective on life and opens your eyes to some of the real problems that are facing our planet.Some 85% of land in Europe has been modified, destroying natural habitats, and rainforest ecosystems have lost well over 90% of their former area due to human deforestation efforts.

        Interacting with people from all across the globe and from very different socioeconomic backgrounds also helps develop compassion and tolerance, which are essential steps towards building a true global society. You can collect a wealth of knowledge and experience nature first-hand by volunteering in an animal sanctuary and working with people in national parks to help preserve wildlife.

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        4. The experience won’t just make you “feel good”, it will make you grow

        Globalteer growth

          While some people will tell you about how great it feels to help others and how much it can do for your own mental and emotional well-being, the truth is that the experience of volunteering for a good cause changes you deep down inside. It’s not about feeling good about yourself and earning bragging rights – it’s about learning about the harsh realities of the world, but at the same time seeing the kindness inherent in humans that manages to thrive in even the worst imaginable circumstances and suffering.

          You will mature emotionally and become wiser as the rose-tinted glasses fall from your eyes. Working with impoverished street children who are often forgotten by the government, and helping them grow into healthy and productive members of society will also help you grow into a better person.

          5. You will learn a lot of new and interesting things

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          PA internship

            Aside from getting some valuable teamwork skills, you will be able to learn a whole host of new skills you didn’t even think of. It’s not unusual for volunteers to learn how to prepare ethnic meals, learn how to dance or become quite handy with household DIY projects. Of course, some of the best ways to combine something that is good with something that is useful is to hone your skills by doing your internship in a third world country. Around 22,000 children die every day because they lack basic living necessities, and there are an estimated 2.2 million annual deaths due to lack of immunization. People with a medical and healthcare background are always needed and welcome in various communities and it’s a good way to get tons of hands-on experience and learn to work in adverse conditions with limited resources.

            6. It will look great on your CV and improve your people skills

            ItoI porject skills

              After all is said and done, there is also a very practical reason why you should volunteer for a cause – it is an excellent thing to have on your CV. To company execs this says that you are a good and trustworthy person who has a strong work ethics and can work in tough conditions. The experience will also teach you important people skills, teamwork and creative problem solving which can all translate well into any other area of your professional and personal life. In other words, spending some time building homes for the poor will help you develop several very practical skills that will come in handy even in a modern business environment.

              As you can see, volunteering is not only an effort that benefits a noble cause – it also benefits the person doing the volunteering in a lot of ways. Once you have roamed with the wild predators, built homes with your own two hands, helped underprivileged children learn something and connected with other kind and generous people from around the globe, very few things will be able to extinguish your faith in humanity.

              Featured photo credit: isafmedia via flickr.com

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              Ivan Dimitrijevic

              Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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              Last Updated on January 15, 2021

              7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

              7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

              The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

              Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

              Posture

              First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

              • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
              • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
              • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
              • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

              All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

              Facial Expressions

              Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

              • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
              • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
              • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

              If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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              1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

              A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

              The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

              This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

              2. Relax Your Face

              New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

              The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

              To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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              3. Improve Your Eye Contact

              Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

              The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

              To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

              3. Smile More

              There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

              Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

              4. Hand Gestures

              Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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              It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

              5. Enhance Your Handshake

              In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

              “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

              It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

              6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

              As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

              Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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              Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

              Final Takeaways

              Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

              If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

              More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

              Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

              Reference

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