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The Importance Of Community And Mental Health

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Importance Of Community To An Individual’s Mental Health
Humans are social beings, and human beings are not made to live in isolation, the need for socialising is essential to keep our sanity intact. A positive community is critical for humans to thrive, and for people dealing with mental illness, those who experience common symptoms of loneliness and isolation need to stay in a positive community more than the others. This is important for their well-being.
What Exactly Is A Community Referred To?
Community can be defined in many ways, but when simplified down to its most important element, community is based on connections, a common thing where people come together and find a connection between themselves. Community is not just an entity or a group of people, it’s a mutual feeling driven by a common purpose, or interest. It’s feeling connected to others, feeling accepted for who you are and feeling supported. Basically, having a connection can help us feel wanted and loved.

Aspects Of A Community
The reason for a community being so important is that it provides some critical elements that are essential to one’s mental health. Below given are three of the most beneficial aspects of a community that one notices in his every-day life.
1. Belonging – If you’ve ever felt like you don’t fit in, you know it can be a lonely experience. Community provides a sense of belonging, a group where you can identify yourself as being a part of something, something good, something way ahead of yourself. This is different than conforming to be in a group. A true sense of belonging includes the ability for you to feel you are a part of the community as your true self, with no prejudice from the people in the same community. There is not anything you have to change to be a part of the community, but instead, you are embraced and appreciated for your unique qualities.

2. Support System – Who do you turn to when you need something? People around you who are close to you, people whom you can trust, people whom you can depend on. Having such people in your life, you can call on when you need to talk or need help with something can help you through difficult situations that might feel insurmountable alone. Knowing there are people who support you can help you feel cared for and safe, and can benefit your outlook on life.

3. Particular Purpose – In community, people fill different roles. Perhaps you’re the friend who enjoys cooking and can be counted on to bring a hot meal over when someone is going through something. Or you’re the friend who others know they can call when they need to talk about their struggles. These roles can give you a sense of purpose through bettering other people’s lives. Having purpose, and helping others, helps give meaning to life.

How To Find The Right Community For Yourself?
When looking for a stronger sense of connection, you have to start with self-reflection. Being aware of what’s important to you can help you find ways to connect with other like-minded people. This is one of the key aspects that help you decide which kind of community will favour you the best when it comes to sense of belonging, support and purpose.
Here are a few key aspects that one can seek to find the best community for themselves.
● Interests – The first aspect of a community is what an individual likes to do. Perhaps you enjoy reading, and joining a book club is best in such circumstances. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to try soccer and could try joining a soccer team. Or maybe you are curious and want to go into research, a researcher’s community is the one for you. And like this, the possibilities are endless, and you might find it easier to connect with others while doing activities you enjoy.
● Values – The next thing that one should look upon are what values you possess. This category could include charities or volunteer work. Being of service is rewarding, and you can connect with others who have similar values or care about the same causes as you. A big part of building your community is giving back to each other, and finding volunteer work is a great way to start.
● Beliefs – The final and also one of the important things in a community is your belief. If you join with a spiritual practice or religion, try going to a speaking engagement, introductory class or service. Or if a political cause speaks to you, you can join a group that works toward a goal that’s meaningful to you. Connecting with something bigger than you is another helpful way to broaden your community.
● Empowerment – It is a way of strengthening civil society by prioritising the actions of communities, and their perspectives in the development of health, social, economic and environmental policy. It seeks the empowerment of local communities, taken to mean geographical communities, communities of interest or identity, and communities organising around specific themes or policy initiatives. It plays a crucial role in supporting active democratic life by promoting the autonomous voice of disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.
Final Words
Humans crave connection. Feeling accepted for who you truly are can give you validation and self-worth. Knowing there are people who support you and will be there for you when you’re struggling provides a sense of safety. And knowing you’re needed, that you have a purpose, reminds you that you are valued. Community provides all these qualities and more.

Where you find community is up to you; there is no one-size-fits-all. And if you haven’t found a strong sense of community yet, keep trying. No matter if your community is big or small, finding people you connect with is vital for your mental health. And remember, just as it’s important for you to find your community, it’s also important for others to have you as a part of their community. We all need each other.