The Importance of Community
As previously discussed, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a 25% increase in overall experience of anxiety and depression for adults in the United States. Furthermore, 33% of adults report feeling lonely throughout some point in their day.
This week, we are going to be talking about the importance of community and how this can affect our overall mental health. Oftentimes as adults, it can be difficult to establish a sense of community.
Maybe you’re living in a new place, away from the community you once knew. Maybe the community you’ve known for a long time looks a lot different than it once did. Or, maybe you’re at a phase of your life where your direct engagement in different spaces is much more minimal than it once was. Maybe you’re an empty nester, and your primary sense of community was encompassed in your kids and their activities. The reasons our communities change through time are extensive.
Nonetheless, a sense of community plays a huge role in our ability to establish a sense of purpose and to maintain our mental health.
Therefore, we are going to be talking about the importance of community, some tips for how to establish community, and hopefully provide you with some inspiration for why community is important in your own life. We’ve talked before about Viktor Frankl and the psychological paradigm he created – logotherapy. Within this paradigm.
Establishing our Purpose
The need for community and satisfaction
Frankl lays out three specific ways to establish a sense of purpose, meaning and significance within the world we live in. These include – 1 – finding a purpose such that if we did not, others would suffer, 2 – finding a redemptive perspective within our own suffering, and 3 – Finding a small community of individuals who ‘take you as you are’
We have previously discussed the first two facets of this paradigm. Today we are going to focus on the need for community in establishing a sense of purpose and overall life satisfaction. Community establishes a sense of belonging and enhances the sentiment of empathy. So, here are some tips for how to establish a sense of community, especially if the community you once knew does not look the same as it once was. First of all, community can be established amongst individuals who have shared worldview and values. Within religious circles, church can be a space that provides a network through which one may become .connected to a community of such individuals.
Whether that be within the church body as a whole, or within small groups or other church organizations. Additionally, we’ve talked previously about how you are ‘best able to serve the person you once were.’ We’ve all experienced difficult circumstances throughout our lives. Whether that be a traumatic childhood, patterns of addiction or broken relationships. The things we are working to overcome are also likely to be areas where other people have struggled as well. Therefore, the circumstances that we have overcome provide us with an avenue in which to connect and invest in others who are living through similar experiences. Organizations such as foster care, Alcoholics Anonymous or Celebrate Recovery are all established settings where people are able to connect with individuals who have lived through similar difficult experiences. These such settings where we are able to share our story and invest in others in the process furthermore provide fulfillment within all three levels of logotherapy.
They would allow you to share your gifts and experience such that if you didn’t, others may suffer. They provide a redemptive facet to one’s own suffering, and further establish a community within which you can be satisfied and accepted. These settings can then furthermore allow a more intent sense of purpose as well as improve overall mental health.
Next week, we will be looking further into the science behind how isolation affects the brain and further establish why community is so important in promoting maintenance of mental health.
To wrap things up, we would love to hear areas in which you have established a sense of community. Where has your community helped you to live into being your best self? Let us know how community has played a vital role in your own overall health and life satisfaction!