Wise people and spiritual masters have been telling us for centuries that when you dwell on your own problems, you give those problems the power to dwell on you.

The solution is to turn your focus outward toward helping others. A Maori proverb puts it this way: “Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows fall behind you.”

That’s why when you choose to go out into your community and to help improve the lives of people around you, it not only makes the world a better place, but it can pull you out of that self-defeating rut where you seem to be stuck.

The reason for getting involved with your community provides many benefits, including:

1. Making New Friends, Meeting New People

If you volunteer to help with a community project, you will meet other people who will enrich your life. They will be there for you when you need help. For example, by volunteering at a local food bank you’ll be preventing local children from going hungry. That not only makes you feel incredibly good, but the people you will be working with will become your own support group. That’s because they are like-minded people who will care about you because they know you care about others.

2. Get Your Finger on the Pulse of What’s Happening

The best way to shake loose new opportunities that might otherwise be hidden from you is to be active in the community. You’ll have a front-row seat to interesting activities and consequential projects. This can lead to new business opportunities and a way to increase your income and raise your profile as an important person in your neighborhood or city.

3. Gain a Resource for Personal Advice

When you become a part of a larger and more diverse group, you inevitably meet an array of people who have “been there, done that.” That means somebody may have confronted the same problems or difficult situation you now face. That other person can share how they solved their problem in a way you may never have thought possible.

4. Discover Your True Passion

A lot of people think they can find out what they really want to do or deeper meaning by spending endless solitary time reading books or plying the pages of the internet. However, getting out among real people holds a special magic for connecting with opportunities and activities that can spark your imagination, awaken your inner genius and shape your destiny.