Technology has forever changed the way humans interact and communicate with one another. We resort to our smartphones to hear and see the faces of our loved ones, near and far. Texting is also a convenient manner of communication and has increased in popularity within the last decade. There is no doubt that this technological advancement has positively impacted our lives in this way. Simultaneously, this creates a dependency between the mobile device and the user. This dynamic can slowly but surely isolate an individual from real life connections. 

There are numerous benefits to unplugging from technology. A break from your phone or computer allows you more time to connect with the people closest to you. Often times, it can be easy to forget to incorporate genuine and meaningful face-to-face interactions into your routine. A great, proactive way to help combat this is investing your time in volunteering.  

Volunteering does not only benefit the volunteer, it is for the greater good and holds immense value in a community. An important benefit of volunteering is that it can help an individual improve their interpersonal skills. This can be an opportunity to engage with people from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life, which can help to expand ones social circle. Additionally, volunteering can provide a sense of belonging in a community, where others are working toward the same goal. 

Technology and social media can alter an individual’s self esteem and intervene with personal growth. These days, it is typical to compare yourself and your lifestyle to other people online. Stepping away from that and volunteering can help someone to understand a community’s needs. As a result of this, this generates empathy and self-efficacy in a person. These feelings are harder to obtain through a phone screen and social applications.  

Furthermore, spending time volunteering instead of being on your phone can improve physical and mental health. According to Western Connecticut State University (WSCU), experts have reported that “when you focus on someone other than yourself, it interrupts usual tension-producing patterns.” Rather, volunteers can help contribute to support families, improve schools, support the youth in the community and beautify the community. This type of involvement can produce feelings of optimism and joy in the volunteer, which help to strengthen the immune system.  

Making it a priority to disconnect from technology is a form of self care. Unplugging can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, according to Forbes. Because blue light distracts the brain and makes it stay alert, unplugging an hour before bed can help to get a better night’s sleep. There are countless causes that need attention and would greatly appreciate anyone’s free time and dedication.  An entire community can thrive through a person’s selflessness. 

Finally, volunteering can be a significant learning experience. A volunteer can learn a lot about themselves through the work they do. They may even discover hidden talents and improve their image of their self worth. Also, volunteering through a nonprofit organization can teach about the functions and operations of our government (WSCU). If you feel compelled to volunteer for a cause, consider L.O.V.E Our Youth. The mission is to “encourage youth to embrace their self-worth and value life’s lessons in order to maximize their potential,” (Love Our Youth). If this sounds like a cause you are passionate about, click here to sign-up to be a volunteer!

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