6 Psychological Benefits of Civic Participation for Young Adults

6 Psychological Benefits of Civic Participation for Young Adults

To shed light on the psychological benefits of civic participation for young adults, we’ve gathered six insightful responses from leaders in the social impact and business sectors. From the empowering effects of environmental activism to the role of civic duty in combating cynicism, these experts share their perspectives on how civic engagement can positively impact the mental well-being of our youth.

  • Empowerment and Peace
  • Empathy
  • Social Connections
  • Purpose and Fulfillment
  • Self-Esteem
  • Defense Against Cynicism

1. Empowerment and Peace

One psychological benefit of civic participation for young adults, particularly in eco-anxiety and voting for candidates who support the environment, is a sense of empowerment and reduced anxiety.

Eco-anxiety refers to the distress and anxiety individuals may experience due to environmental concerns and the impending effects of climate change. When young adults engage in civic participation by voting for candidates who prioritize environmental issues and sustainability, they often experience a sense of agency and empowerment.

This feeling arises from the belief that their actions can contribute to positive change in addressing environmental challenges. It can help alleviate anxiety by providing a channel for action, fostering hope, and creating a sense of community among individuals dedicated to addressing environmental challenges.

Alannah Hardcastle, Social Impact Manager, Random Acts of Green

2. Empathy

Civic engagements can help young adults find and develop empathy for others. It’s easy for young adults, especially budding professionals, to take things for granted, having just grown and entered adulthood. They can be selfish due to their relative inexperience in the adult phase, where kindness and empathy are important qualities to develop. Community involvement can remind young people that empathy is very important as they work with people and institutions from diverse cultures.

Participating in civic engagements will teach them to introspect and become more empathetic. This will result in better relationships and networks, significantly benefiting their personal lives and professional careers.

Chris Burgess, Project Lead, EuHu by Findel

3. Social Connections

Civic engagement is not only for the community but also for each individual. It helps us feel connected, reduces isolation, and creates healthy relationships with peers and institutions beyond ourselves. When young people make the world a better place, it helps them learn and boosts their well-being.

Young people who participate in community activities feel better and have healthier personal relationships. They’re less likely to smoke, use drugs or alcohol, get into trouble, become parents too early, or leave school. There’s a lot of strong scientific evidence showing that being active in the community is suitable for young people and everyone around them.

Cillian Reynolds, Managing Director, CBD Oil Ireland

4. Purpose and Fulfillment

One of the most important psychological benefits of civic participation for young adults is an increased sense of purpose and fulfillment. When young adults actively engage in civic activities such as volunteering, community organizing, or participating in local government, they often develop a stronger sense of connection to their communities and society.

This sense of purpose arises from the feeling that their actions can positively impact the world around them. It provides a sense of meaning and satisfaction, boosting self-esteem and overall psychological well-being. Knowing that they are contributing to the betterment of their community or advocating for causes they believe in can lead to a greater sense of happiness and fulfillment in young adults’ lives.

Bruno Gavino, Founder, CEO, CodeDesign

5. Self-Esteem

Understanding the psychological benefits of civic participation for young adults is essential, as it can motivate them to become more engaged in their communities and societies.

By understanding these benefits, we can identify effective ways to encourage and support young adults’ civic participation. Active engagement in civic activities offers young adults a significant psychological advantage by fostering enhanced self-esteem and confidence. When young adults actively participate in their communities, they feel a sense of accomplishment and pride.

This can boost their self-esteem and help them develop a positive sense of self-worth. Participating in community activities can also improve their confidence as they gain new skills and build relationships with others.

Keith Sant, Founder and CEO, Kind House Buyers

6. Defense Against Cynicism

There is no guarantee, but ideally, it provides some future defense against cynicism. Granted, we all know people who have had a bad experience at a young age, which fuels their frustration. They are, however, an exception to the rule. Most people I know who grew up with a sense of civic duty still maintain it.

Trevor Ewen, COO, QBench

Happy volunteer family holding donation boxes

Channeling Expert Insights: Civic Engagement Trails for the Young Trailblazers

The insights from the seasoned have paved a path filled with hope and actionable steps. Now, it’s the young adults’ turn to tread this path, actively engage in civic duties, and reap the myriad psychological benefits. Here’s how the young brigade can implement the expert tips and become the torchbearers of change:

  • Harnessing Empowerment:
    • Understand the power of your voice and vote. Engage in causes that resonate with you, environmental activism or community welfare. Your actions, however small, can fuel big changes.
  • Cultivating Empathy:
    • Step out of your comfort zone and interact with individuals from different walks of life. Volunteer at local nonprofits, understand the challenges faced by others and work together to overcome them.
  • Forging Social Connections:
    • Join community groups or civic organizations that align with your values. Engage in meaningful dialogues, participate in community activities, and foster a network of like-minded individuals.
  • Seeking Purpose and Fulfillment:
    • Dedicate time to causes that move you. Whether it’s a local clean-up drive or advocating for policy changes, find what gives you a sense of purpose and dive in.
  • Building Self-Esteem:
    • Celebrate the small victories, and learn from the challenges. Your active participation is making a difference, and that’s a testament to your capabilities.
  • Warding off Cynicism:
    • Maintain a positive outlook, believe in the power of collective action, and remember every effort counts in building a robust civic structure.

Now, let’s venture beyond the horizon and uncover some additional facets that amplify the essence of civic participation.

Beyond the Civic Horizon: Additional Avenues of Engagement

  • Digital Activism:
    • In an age where digital waves create real-world ripples, leverage social media and online platforms to advocate for causes, spread awareness, and mobilize support.
  • Educational Forays:
    • Immerse yourself in learning about the social and political landscape. Equip yourself with knowledge, as it’s the precursor to meaningful action.
  • Creative Expressions:
    • Utilize art, music, or writing to express your civic concerns, tell stories that matter, and inspire others through creative mediums.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborations:
    • Bridge the gaps between different fields of work and study. Foster collaborations that aim at holistic community development.
  • Global Citizenship:
    • Extend your civic engagement beyond local boundaries. Embrace global issues and contribute to international causes, embodying the spirit of a global citizen.
  • Mentorship and Leadership:
    • As you advance in your civic journey, mentor the newcomers, share your experiences, and lead initiatives that drive collective community advancement.

Embarking on a civic voyage contributes to personal growth and seeds a compassionate, engaged, and resilient society. So, gear up, step out, and make your mark in the civic arena. Your journey could inspire a cascade of engaged citizenship, driving positive change across communities and borders.