In a world where stress, loneliness and isolation are rife, our mental wellbeing is at risk. One major contributor to these issues is a lack of community. These days it’s all too easy to neglect human contact and relationships. Recreating a sense of community can help to reduce stress and improve support networks, for a healthier and happier you. Read on to discover the importance of communities and what you can do to build yours!
What is Community?
A community is a group of people with a shared interest, philosophy or way of life. It’s possible, and preferable, to be a part of many communities – but they all have one thing in common: they connect people. Whether it’s with family, friends, colleagues or complete strangers – belonging to a community is all about building and maintaining relationships through social interaction.
Why is Community Important?
Social connections help us to live longer by preventing disease and promoting overall wellbeing. The effect of this is not to be underestimated! Consider these facts:
- People with the fewest social interactions are three times more likely to die prematurely than those with the most
- Social stress is an even bigger risk factor for mortality from chronic disease than physical inactivity, alcohol intake and smoking put together
- Being lonely means you’re 30 per cent more likely to have a stroke or a heart attack
Forgive us for the doom and gloom but these findings really do demonstrate the powerful impact of a lack of community! But just how exactly does it lead to poor physical health?
As a species, humans are not designed to live independently. It’s only in recent years that the concept of anonymous or virtual communication has become the norm. For thousands of years it’s been communicating face-to-face or not at all. As a means of survival, we had no choice but to work together as a team and live not as an individual but as one part of a wider community. So, the modern way of living is a shock to the system and perceived as a threat – and the body’s response is to release stress hormones and switch on inflammation, which can all too often be the root cause of disease.
Communities are a Cure for Loneliness
Loneliness is such a problem that the UK government has recently appointed a Minister for Loneliness. We now know that the effects of loneliness ripple through society on a much greater level than affecting just those who are physically alone. Those who seem the happiest, busiest and most confident can in fact be masking an underlying suffering of loneliness.
Studies have shown that 18-34-year olds are even more likely to feel lonely compared to those over 55. So, it’s not just something affecting the elderly or isolated. How can this be? The younger generation have been born and bred on technology, raised in a society where a smartphone is a must and not a choice, and aimlessly scrolling through endless social media is the norm! Trouble is no matter how many hundreds of superficial online connections we make in the virtual world, they can never offer the sense of community we get from friendship and conversation in the real world.
We’re simply not designed to go it alone in this world! Being part of a community creates a sense of belonging and security. Sharing ideas, thoughts and feelings with others is an emotional release which reduces stress and helps to build meaningful relationships. As independent as some of us like to be, there’s no denying the reassurance and support that this gives us!
How can I Build my own Community?
Asking yourself what you would like to achieve from being part of a community is a good place to start. Experiencing community is a broad spectrum of possibilities, which means the chances of finding the right one for you are endless! Here’s a few healthy habits you can practice to make community a priority in your life.
- Focus on real-life relationships over a digital existence
- Plan a regular event or get together to avoid postponing!
- Go beyond small talk to bravely enter meaningful conversations
- Connect with those outside your inner circle every now and then
- Meet up with someone in real life who you’d usually just email or call
Learn from the Expert: Dr Chatterjee
In our quest to help you become the best version of yourself we are always on the lookout for inspiring and motivational individuals with invaluable knowledge to pass on. Dr Rangan Chatterjee certainly ticks all of these boxes!
A pioneer in progressive medicine, he's changing lives by treating the root cause of disease rather than just the symptoms. We couldn’t agree more with his preventative principles of food, movement, rest and relaxation for a life that’s as healthy and happy as can be.
We thoroughly recommend getting your own copy as it’s worth every penny!
The Hunter & Gather Community!
Our real food condiments and oils help to bring people together around the table at meal times, as opposed to the grab and go culture that is ever present in the modern world.
Jeff and I (Amy), pride ourselves on being a go-to resource for the real food community. You’ll find recipes, blog posts and topical discussion on our website and we are always more than happy to have a chat and offer support to out loyal followers!
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