A Sense of Community is Good for Your Mind
Our quality of life is so important for both our mental and physical wellbeing. If you are feeling down or unhappy, or are anxious and stressed, getting involved in the community you live in might just be what you need to feel better.
What is it about the community that helps the mind?
When you are part of a community, you have a connection to others. This connection makes you feel less isolated and part of a group. Community is not just your zip code or city you live in, it is a feeling of being accepted by others and being involved in activities that affect the community and the individuals that live in it. And for someone struggling with mental illness, and are already experiencing loneliness and isolation, joining in on local activities and meeting others is so beneficial.
I want to belong
You’ve heard people say, “I feel like I don’t fit in.” This feeling can affect our mental state, causing loneliness, lack of self-confidence and even depression. When you join a community that you can identify with, you can find your true self and feel confident about your unique qualities and interests.
I now have a purpose
Everyone in the community has a role and that alone can give you a sense of purpose. Maybe you clean up the neighborhood, or you know of a sick neighbor who needs a hot meal, or you want to coordinate a town hall meeting. All of the activities can help you feel a part of a group and knowing you are helping others can make you feel good inside.
I have a support system
When you are feeling upset, overwhelmed, lonely or need friends, your community is there to lend an ear or a hand. Having people you can call on to get you through some trying situations or to do things with is a real benefit.
How do I find community?
The community doesn’t have to be the neighborhood you live in. It could be a group that has the same hobbies or career as you, it can be a group of friends you enjoy doing things with. When looking for a group connection, you must start with yourself, and gain an understanding of what you want from others. Being aware of what’s important to you can help you find ways to connect with other like-minded people. It’s not always easy to find the community that you want to join. It may take a couple of tries to find the right fit, but don’t give up. No matter what size your community is, finding others that you can socialize with and finding a sense of purpose is important for mental well-being. And don’t forget. It’s a reciprocal relationship with community… just as you need a community to grow and flourish, the community needs you too!
If you feel isolated and depressed, a mental health professional may be able to help. Clinicians in our Counseling & Wellness Centers can help you work towards setting goals for mental wellness. Call our main number at 844-422-3632 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
National Alliance on Mental Illness