It is well-established that strong social, community connections are crucial for our overall well-being. In fact, research has consistently shown that individuals with strong social connections have better mental health outcomes compared to those who are more isolated. This is because our relationships with others provide us with a sense of belonging, support, and connection, all of which are important for our emotional and psychological health.
People who feel more connected to others have lower levels of anxiety and depression. Moreover, studies show they also have higher self-esteem, greater empathy for others, are more trusting and cooperative and, as a consequence, others are more open to trusting and cooperating with them.“Connectedness & Health: The Science of Social Connection,” http://ccare.stanford.edu/uncategorized/connectedness-health-the-science-of-social-connection-infographic, May 8, 2014
But what does it mean to be connected to a community? A community can be defined as a group of people who share common interests, values, or experiences. It could be a group of friends, a neighborhood, a sports team, or a religious organization, just to name a few examples. The important thing is that the community provides a sense of belonging and connection to others.
So how can we foster a sense of community and connection in our lives? Here are a few ideas:
- Participate in activities and events that bring people together. This could be anything from joining a club or sports team to volunteering at a local organization.
- Reach out to friends and family. Make an effort to stay in touch with loved ones, even if it’s just through a phone call or video chat.
- Connect with others who share similar interests. This could be through online communities, meetup groups, or hobby clubs.
- Get involved in your neighborhood. This could be as simple as joining a neighborhood association or starting a block party.
By actively seeking out and participating in community connections, we can improve our mental health and overall well-being. So don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with others – your mental health will thank you for it.
This infographic from Emma Seppala, Ph.D. is pretty neat. We like the section that explains that people who are self-described loaners and introverts can have few friends and still reap the benefits of social connections. “The benefits come from your internal and subjective sense of connection.”
Community Connection is not about external likes, shares and friend quantity. Like most things it is about quality.