Community power: improving your dating, health, work & the world

Community power: improving your dating, health, work & the world

Bring to mind the last time you bumped into someone you knew, when a stranger smiled at you in the street, a time you were chatting to regulars at a local class or spent time with family and friends. Are you smiling? As humans we’re hard-wired for connection and to be part of something. Loneliness levels in the UK have been growing and even for those of us who wouldn’t say we’re regularly lonely, are we as connected as we could be? Could there be some huge benefits we’re missing out on?

The positive impacts drip into all areas of our lives; from health - with research showing better immune systems and longer lifespans, to greater resilience in hard times, more opportunities in work, dating and learning and the ability to come together to bring about more impactful change when we need it.


Here are 5 key reasons to get more connected & some brilliant communities that you could lean into to do so:

 

  1. Communities as a supportive safety net
Communities act as safety nets for those unpredictable moments in life. When challenges pop up, whether it’s a personal setback or a collective crisis, a strong community can provide the emotional support, shared resources, and a sense of belonging that can get you through.
Research consistently highlights the correlation between social support and mental health. Having a community to lean on can alleviate stress and reduce the risk of mental health issues in challenging moments.
Suggestions: neighbourhood groups, fitness activities with a community focus such as goodgym & community centred yoga studios

  1. Communities as an opportunity for shared learning and growth
There are so many different communities that you can get involved in and often they can be places to meet people with different experiences and perspectives to you. Art groups, language classes, mentorship programmes, dog walkers, neighbourhood communities, sports clubs - they are all likely to attract a mix of people which provides a great opportunity for shared learning, personal growth and hearing new ideas.
Along with the wellbeing benefits from the social aspect, learning is a great way to protect the brain from ageing as it promotes neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to create new neural pathways). It also boosts creativity and improves your memory
Suggestions: language classes, art groups, hobby workshops

  1. Communities for networking and professional opportunities
As you broaden your circle through meeting new people, you will find more opportunities, whether that be professionally or personally. Meaningful relationships in a professional community can lead to job referrals, collaborations and propelling individuals forward in their careers. From a personal perspective, you might meet a new partner or a new friend. 
Suggestions: mentorship programmes, industry networking events

  1. Communities for collective empowerment

The collective power of a community is a force to be reckoned with. When groups come together around a common cause, their impact is far bigger than what one person could achieve. From grassroots movements to charitable organisations, communities are engines of change.
Finding something you’re passionate about joining others in supporting this allows you to be part of something bigger. This sense of purpose and collective accomplishment that comes with this is both empowering and fulfilling for people involved
Suggestions: volunteering, cause centred groups

  1. Social connectedness and wellbeing

To dive into the actual physical and mental impact of community, I’ve already mentioned living longer, reduced stress, greater resilience and a boosted immune system, but here’s a more detailed list of some of the benefits studies have shown come from social connection and a strong community: 
  • Decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, depression & anxiety
  • Improved ability to recover from stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Promotes healthy eating, physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Improves sleep, well-being, and quality of life.
  • Reduce your risk of violent and suicidal behaviours.
  • Can prevent death from chronic diseases.
That’s a pretty good list if you ask me!

Our 3 actionable tips to get started: 

Like with many of the topics we cover, the opportunities and choices can be quite overwhelming, so if you’re looking for an entry point, here are our 3 actionable tips:
  1. Take stock of how connected you currently are, assessing yourself against the 4 categories we cover above: do you have a community you can fall back on in tough times, do you have a community of learning, what about for new opportunities? & finally linking to feeling part of something bigger?
  2. Make a plan for how you are going to increase your connectedness in one of these areas with a specific action you will take in the next week.
  3. Ask yourself what is one thing you could do that would make you feel more connected today? Maybe that’s even making someone’s day in our community? You can do that by sending an anonymous uplifting message here

This is a topic that’s really important to us, we’re looking at the best ways to bring our community together. If you have any suggestions, drop us a line at team@hellolifted.com 

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