It’s important to belong to a community. I was inspired to write this post by a recent outing to a ‘tea’ hosted by a tiny community in western New Brunswick. A neighbor invited us. In short, getting together with neighbors was something, quite frankly, I had never done. It struck me that this events such as this can contribute to an individual sense of ‘belonging’ which, in itself, bestows upon individuals a myriad of uplifting benefits.
Community wellness is a concept that goes beyond individual health and well-being. It refers to the collective well-being of a group of people who share a common place, culture, identity or interest. Community wellness is influenced by many factors, such as social, economic, environmental and medical determinants of health.
Community wellness can be enhanced by promoting healthy and positive relationships, supporting community involvement and participation, addressing health disparities and inequities, and responding to current and emerging health challenges. Community wellness can also benefit from the recognition and respect of diverse perspectives, values and traditions.
Some examples of community wellness initiatives are:
- Community health centers that provide accessible and affordable health care services to underserved populations.
- Community gardens that foster food security, environmental sustainability and social connection.
- Community arts and cultural programs that celebrate diversity, creativity and expression.
- Community resilience plans that prepare for and recover from disasters, emergencies and pandemics.
Community wellness is not only a desirable goal but also a shared responsibility. Everyone can contribute to community wellness by taking care of their own health, supporting others in need, engaging in civic activities, advocating for social justice and collaborating with others for positive change.
This is a question that many people may ask themselves, especially in times of social isolation and uncertainty. Social isolation is an issue in cities, particularly among the elderly. The answer is not simple but there is plenty of evidence that shows that being part of a community can have positive effects on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
One of the benefits of belonging to a community is that it can provide us with social support. Social support is the feeling that we are cared for, valued, and connected to others who share our interests, values, and goals. Social support can help us cope with stress, reduce loneliness, and enhance our self-esteem. It can also motivate us to adopt mutually supportive, healthy behaviors, such as exercising, eating well, and quitting smoking.
Another benefit of belonging to a community is that it can give us a sense of purpose and meaning. Purpose and meaning are the reasons why we do what we do, and why we think our lives matter. Having a purpose and meaning can make us happier, more resilient, and more satisfied with our lives. Being part of a community can help us find our purpose and meaning by allowing us to contribute to something bigger than ourselves, such as a cause, a mission, or a vision.
A third benefit of belonging to a community is that it can foster our personal growth and development. Personal growth and development are the processes of learning new skills, acquiring new knowledge, and expanding our horizons. They can also involve overcoming challenges, facing fears, and discovering new aspects of ourselves.
Being part of a community can, through social engagement, facilitate our personal growth and development by exposing us to diverse perspectives, experiences, and opportunities. It can also challenge us to step out of our comfort zones, to try new things and grow as individuals.
In conclusion, belonging to a community can contribute to a person’s sense of wellness in many ways. It can provide us with social support, give us a sense of purpose and meaning, and foster our personal growth and development.
These benefits can improve our physical, mental, and emotional health, and make us happier and more fulfilled. Did you know that social support contributes to cardiovascular health? This is a topic we have covered in a post that examined the benefits of volunteerism! See the link below. Therefore, it is important to seek out, participate in and nurture the communities that we belong to or, alternatively, to find new ones that resonate with us.
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