Did you know that we tend to be healthier and have better immunity when we’re more socially connected? Studies show social community to be health protective. But how do you get there? Keep reading for Erica Mesirov‘s blog post that dives into a variety of ways to get more involved with your community.
We’re social creatures. But priority is rarely given to connecting with others. From a young age, we’re encouraged to compete. We try to be the smartest, best dressed, and most accomplished. Truthfully, it’s exhausting.
So it’s beneficial to make a special effort to create a sense of community. Because this reduces stress, and improves mental health. And it might just improve your physical health too.
Speak to Neighbors
If you’re like most people, you’ve got dozens of people living right next to you — they’re your neighbors. You might think that there’s not much sense of community where you live. But community isn’t something that just happens. You can create it.
Host a BBQ. Adopt a dog and get to know others walking through your neighborhood. Or simply introduce yourself to someone you’d like to get to know.
Your local shopping district might not get the love it deserves. Especially if it’s next to a big city. But there’s something to be said about giving your local community your hard earned dollars.
By spending your time near home, you’ll be helping to foster a much-needed sense of community. You’ll aid the local economy. And you’ll better get to know those in your neighborhood.
So go to a farmer’s market. Shop at the mom and pop store. And start to get to know what your town offers.
Visit Local Cafes
You probably love the big coffee chains. But there’s nothing like a local coffee shop. These tend to be community minded. They may have announcements about local events. And there’s usually more room to sit and converse with friends and family.
You might get a good brew from the big chains. But a local cafe let’s you get up close and personal with small business owners who in turn are involved with the local community. So grab a cup of coffee here and the community spirit will follow.
Join a League
Your interests can provide an anchor. Join a bowling league, or a tennis club. How about a juggling group? Try an activity you’ve had on your bucket list. There are leagues for all sorts of things. You just have to look.
Most leagues can be found by a simple Google search. Think of what you might like to join and get out there. The sky’s the limit.
Go to a House of Worship
It’s possible you’re looking for something deeper. Religious communities have been at the center of community life for centuries for a reason. They provide an anchor for people’s lives, and provide a higher purpose.
For example. attending a Catholic ministry is about much more than religious guidance. You become part of the parish family. And if organized religion isn’t your thing, try a meditation center. This is another way to connect with others as well as a higher purpose.
Help a Community Garden
If you love working in the outdoors, then why not do it with other people? There’s much to be said for community gardens,especially if you like using your hands. You’ll help others by enriching your neighborhood.
And don’t think of working in a community garden as just for seniors. You’ll find people of all ages who care about nature.
Volunteer Your Time
It’s hard to feel part of a community if you’re tucked away in your own little corner. It’s much better to be involved in the community. And what better way than by giving back?
Wherever you live, there’ll always be local organizations that need help. Even if it’s just giving up an afternoon of your time every couple of week. You’ll be making a positive difference in your area.
Engage in Local Politics
Politics doesn’t just happen in Washington D.C. It happens on a local level too. Politics is much easier to become involved in than most people realize.
If you want to make where you live a better place, then why not look at running for a local seat? Think of the change you’d like to see on the local level. And then get involved. Even if you don’t win, you’ll be much more engaged in your local community. And you just may make a difference.
Be the Community
Sometimes, it’s the small things that count. As said earlier, communities don’t just happen — they need people to step up and make them a reality. If you’re looking around and lamenting the lack of community in your area, then be the change. Start talking to people, create events, and try to bring people together. Become the leader, and people will follow.
And these are just a few ways to help your community. Being more connected will likely help your mental wellness. And thereby improve your immunity.
Social connection isn’t a cure-all. But it’s both mentally and physically transforming. So why not take advantage of becoming a great part of your neighborhood? You can’t afford not to make the time.