The Well

Tag: Support

Community

by Andrew Shaw on Dec.08, 2009, under Archives

You know how the song goes… it’s the most wonderful time of the year.  If you are lucky enough to have family and friends, to be with people you love and who love you during the Holidays, you are lucky indeed.  I feel very fortunate to find myself in this category, that I have a loving family and supportive friends.  But for many people, this isn’t the happiest season of all.  In fact, it can be quite sad and lonely, especially for those who are alone or who have lost their loved ones.  Many of my clients have shared feelings of sadness and loss and describe how they feel more isolated this time of year.  As I think about both my situation and that of some of my clients, I really see the importance of connectedness and of being surrounded by family, friends and/or a community. 

Community serves a vital role in strengthening and maintaining a person’s well-being.  A community, friends or family, act as an essential support system.  It can be particularly helpful during times of need.  With our society moving at a faster pace and more detached manner due to technology and increasingly busy schedules, it’s becoming harder to feel any sense of community or belonging.  It’s easy to be isolated, and yet isolation tends to beget a sense of loneliness, depression and detachment from life.  Whether you already have an existing network of friends or you are feeling isolated, here are some ideas you may consider to strengthen your sense of community, and as a result, improve your health and wellness.

• Participate in random acts of kindness.  For more information, visit: http://www.actsofkindness.org/

• Acknowledge a passerby in your neighborhood or at work.

• Attend community events.

• Attend church, synagogue or another religious group.

• Volunteer.

• Meet your neighbors.

• Buy from local merchants.

• Take a class at your community college.

• Join a support group (If you’re in L.A., check-out http://www.shareselfhelp.org/).

• Organize or attend a neighborhood or community party.

• Spend less time on the internet or watching television and more time outside.

• Attend a lecture at your public library.

• Young or wise… visit your community youth or senior center.

• Join a club or other social organization.

The idea of community may simply come down to supporting and interacting positively with other individuals who share a similar interest.  Ultimately, a strong community benefits the individual, the community, as well as society as a whole.  People who are engaged and feel a sense of belonging tend to lead happier and healthier lives, and strong communities create a more stable and caring society. 

So, Stay Connected and Be Well

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