The world we inhabit today is more connected than ever, yet paradoxically, many people are disconnected from their local community. A solid sense of community is essential to the health of individuals as well as society.
Although people manage to find and grow communities online, connection to our real-life local community remains a crucial component of a complete and fulfilling life.
Why are Communities Important?
Connection to one’s neighbors and larger area is vital to the fabric of society, both small and large. Before the Internet (not to mention televisions, telephones, and power transportation), human beings were far more in touch with their neighbors and town.
The newspaper was our main source of news, and a stroll through the neighborhood, especially if one stopped to chat with the neighbors, was the past form of “social media.” It conferred the following benefits.
Social connection has a direct impact on your heart health and life expectancy. Studies have shown that even a person’s “perceived loneliness” increases the incidence of stroke by 32% and heart disease by 29%. In fact, this social connection is a component in predicting death: an individual’s risk increases by 61% if he or she already has heart disease.
When individuals are surrounded by community, they are more likely to make healthy life choices, be more active, and less likely to abuse drugs and/or alcohol. By associating with your friends and family, you improve your psychological well-being. Positive interactions and involvement with others improve your health outcomes by 50%, which is more effective than any drug and has no negative side effects.
In addition, tight-knit communities suffer less crime. This is because people know their neighbors and maintain a more personalized relationship with them. When you are involved in connection it heightens the moral dilemma posed by the temptation to take advantage of others, and makes it more difficult to victimize her or him.
How You Build a Community
Define the Purpose
Building your community starts with identifying a common purpose. The purpose can be broad, which tends to make your community more broad, or it can be fairly specific. Regardless of the reason, a common cause or purpose helps bring individuals together, and becomes a component that attracts more to the endeavor.
Create a Plan
The next aspect of building a community is creating a plan. How will you reach out to individuals to invite them to your community?
How will you meet with your group? What will you do in order to accomplish its desires and goals?
You may consider various aspects. Sometimes the creation of a community is more organic, and the goals evolve over time; in other cases, the participants put greater thought and planning into establishing a cohesive group. However your group gets formed, having a purpose or plan to create positivity and worth in your group helps to enliven it, and keep it functioning for longer.
There are many kinds of groups you may gather to build your social bedrock. Sometimes the best place to start is with neighbors.
In some ways, the internet has made it easier to connect with people of common interests than in the past. Form a book club, put together a gardening club, schedule a poker night or barbecue night, or any other activity that excites people and brings them together.
Make a Space
Creating or finding an appropriate space to meet as a group can be a vital component as you seek to build a community. This selection may consist of friends and neighbors, or church members, school friends, family, sports enthusiasts, or people with similar goals.
Given the wide range of communities that are possible, a variety of locations might be appropriate for your group. If an individual or family is building a social network, one of the best places to do it is in their own backyard.
According to RTAOutdoorLiving, a suitably inviting space begins with a great backyard design. Having a focused design that’s conducive to entertaining visitors can facilitate the growth of your social circle.
The best communities are groups of people who come together and provide mutual benefits to one another. A community is meant to be a place of encouragement and growth.
If your community turns competitive and petty, it will not last. Work hard to foster positivity, uplift each other, and set goals that help to make each everyone better.
There’s no question that feeling a sense of belonging and connectedness with all humanity is crucial for a person’s health. Where some people struggle is in how to start building a community.
By putting yourself out there, looking for common interests, providing an encouraging environment, and meeting together in person, you will begin to find you are capable of establishing firm connections.