It’s common knowledge that exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet creates a healthy lifestyle. However, there are so many other important factors that can contribute to overall health and wellbeing – including the physical and social environments that surround us, often referred to as our communities.
What is a Community?
Communities can exist or be created from a shared physical location, hobbies, interests or other commonalities. They’re about involvement, connection, and togetherness. This feeling of fellowship with others can help provide a sense of purpose and belonging, and in turn, can have a positive effect on overall health and wellbeing.
The Positive Effects of Community on Health and Wellbeing
In this article by Kings Fund, it was found that a person’s social networks can have a significant positive impact on their overall health. It was also found that those with adequate social networks had a 50% greater survival, compared with those who had poor social relationships. Social support has also been found to be particularly important in increasing resilience and promoting recovery from illness.
The Benefits of Being Part of a Community
- Motivation – when you are surrounded by people who are making moves, it can inspire and motivate you to do the same.
- Learning Opportunities – everyone knows something you don’t. You can reach out to your community to ask questions and get advice.
- Make Friends – making friends can be difficult, especially as you get older. Being part of a community gives you the opportunity to meet and bond with like-minded people.
- Networking Opportunities – whether you’re in need of a service or you have a service to offer, it is likely that your peers can make introductions for you.
- Stress relief – community events give you the chance to interact and have fun with others, which in turn, can relieve stress. Humans are social creatures by nature.
How a Lack of Community Can Negatively Affect Health
On the other hand; discrimination, stigma and social exclusion can create barriers to social connectedness, which can impact overall health and well-being negatively. In this article by Kings Fund, it was found that a lack of support and social relationships can cause chronic loneliness, which produces long-term damage to physiological health through increased stress hormones, weaker immunity, and cardiovascular health. This sense of loneliness can also make it more difficult to build willpower and resilience over time, leading to engagement in unhealthy behaviors.
How to Be Part of a Community
If you are suffering from loneliness and isolation, there are many activities and things you can to do help increase your sense of social belonging. You could try a new sport, volunteer for a local charity, or take an evening class at your local community college. Find out what your local options are, and take it from there.
Based in San Antonio, TX? Check out these local events you could attend:
Are you ready to begin your journey to healing and happiness? Contact us today!