Building community for your social health – part one

Loneliness can effect anyone even if you are in a group of people you know. As the holiday season approaches, loneliness seems to increase for some people.

How well do you know your neighbours? What community groups or activities are you aware of in your local area? Over the years you may have discovered that you have grown further apart from your neighbours and those once small communities have dwindled as your focus has been on work, financial needs, and other areas of your life.

Research supports this observation through a report published in Australia by the Less Anxious Society Plan 2018. The report goes on to propose that the solution to addressing loneliness is to rebuild those lost, local neighbourhood communities.

The benefits of building community

Communities are important for social connection and providing support to each other in times of need. Taking an active role in your local neighbourhood is good for not only your social health but it flows on to benefit your mental, emotional and physical health as well.

Your local community becomes like an extended family and support network which enriches the culture and diversity of your neighbourhood. As a result, you may end up creating new lifelong friends who share a common interest.

Making time to build social connections

You may be wondering when you would have time for reconnecting with your neighbours because you are busy working, taking care of family, and other life projects.

Re-prioritising life and changing behaviours is key to making social connections in your community. One way to do this is to use mindfulness to re-evaluate your life and live mindfully in the moment. Saying hello to your neighbour on the weekend or as you pass each other on your way out to work in to work in the morning is a way of starting the conversation.

When you and your neighbours come together and interact socially and naturally, it is the start of building genuine relationships to connect with one another to grow into a thriving, happy, healthy community.

These connections will be important as the Christmas season arrives and you may even choose to hold a community street party to cultivate your friendships further.

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