A great way to kick depression, increase self esteem and get involved in your community is through serving. Volunteering in your community can significantly impact your mood for the better and increase self esteem. Getting outside ourselves helps us to realize things for which we can be thankful; it helps us to know we can make a difference. The surprising twist of volunteering is that typically we end up feeling joy in return for helping others! It feels good to get outside ourselves and help. When all we do is stare at our own circumstances, we can feel hopeless. But when we take time to serve others, we see a bigger perspective; life isn't solely about what is in front of our faces. There are great organizations in the Raleigh area that need volunteers. The Raleigh Rescue Mission and the Shepherd's Table Soup Kitchen are just two of these local organizations where you can serve and volunteer. These are great places to serve on your own, with your family or grab a bunch of friends and volunteer! I encourage clients that I see in counseling to get outside themselves every now and then and volunteer! Depression keeps us focused inward on our pain, discouragement and current circumstances. Volunteering helps us to see that life isn't just about what we are experiencing currently; there are others in our community who are also having a difficult time, struggling to make ends meet and needing help. When we can reach out and help others, we feel more connected to our community and also a sense of empowerment that we can make a difference! I encourage you to look for opportunities to serve in your area. If you live in the Raleigh area, consider contacting one of these agencies to volunteer!