The Importance of Community for Mental Health
Here at Wealthy Affiliate we constantly see comments voicing appreciation for our supportive community. I've made many such comments myself and with good reason. There is a positive vibe and helpful spirit coursing through these threads.
Today I started thinking about the importance of having a supportive community. My niche is mental health so I always see the mental health angle fairly easily and without even really trying.
That angle is not a stretch when talking about the importance of community for mental health.
Research shows that connecting with other people is vital to our mental health because it is a protection against anxiety, depression and loneliness. Even if we are introverted and we don't mind being alone for the most part, at some point we do need that connection. Maybe since we've been isolated during this pandemic, we've seen the truth of this.
We cannot continue being isolated and remain healthy mentally.
We might have connections but they may not be quality, so to speak. We might not be putting much effort out in terms of helping or encouraging or just thinking about what others are going through. In this case we need to strengthen the connections we have.
First think about family members or friends that we just haven't quite kept in touch with as much as we would like to. Maybe instead of leaving it to chance we could set a schedule to check in with them like once a week or every other week.
I find that when my good friend and I are both feeling down, neither one of us reaches out. If it seems like others haven't been reaching out to you lately it might be because they are feeling down. Reaching out will make you both feel better.
During the shelter in place orders my daughter would drop off silly little gifts on her friends doorstep. It seems small but it made both her and her friend happy.
Developing New Connections
We might have lost a loved one or we may have retired. If so, it's likely that we lost some really valuable connections. If we find that we are not as connected as we need to be or would like to be we may need to develop new connections.
What are some ideas for doing that?
- Think of people you have known in the past. I was thinking of the teacher my son had for horseback lessons. I really liked her but he stopped his lessons and I haven't reached out to her for a long time. I'm sure she would appreciate me texting, "Hey, I was thinking about you. How's it going?"
- Helping others is great for mental health, ours and theirs. Is there anyone who might need help in your community? That's funny, of course there is! There's senior housing or a neighbor that is elderly or ill. Any of these people might just need something from the store or maybe a greeting card.
- Leave a jar of cut flowers on your neighbors porch with a nice note.
- Join an online community of people who have the same hobby, beliefs or goals as you. Hmm, why does that sound familiar??
Do E-Connections Really Help?
They just need to be meaningful. It's not just 'likes' and 'follows'. But it doesn't' have to be difficult either.
It's just a matter of expressing care, concern or appreciation. It can be as simple as saying, "I thought of you today, how are you?"
Also, you don't have to be a peppy, outgoing, eternal optimist to reach out to others. Remember, the strategies discussed here are strategies that can help those of us who are suffering from mild forms of anxiety and depression.**
Here at Wealthy Affiliate we have a supportive, helpful community. We have a common goal, to make an online income. We understand the struggles, setbacks and hard work involved. We don't know each other personally but we encourage one another when we feel down or anxious about our endeavors here. We celebrate with each other when we succeed. We don't put each other down or make one another feel stupid for asking a question.
The purpose of Wealthy Affiliate is training people to build websites, build a brand and make money but there is so much more being accomplished here, don't you agree?
**Mental health professionals are helping people with online sessions when having meetings isn't possible. These sessions are just as successful as face to face meetings. If you or someone you know is having a crisis please use the following resources. https://www.betterhelp.com/gethelpnow/