How building community could transform your mental wellness
We’ve all been there: the moment of contemplation when you weigh the cost/benefit of putting on clothes to leave your house and interact with the world against staying in, diving under your covers, and avoiding all other humans. Certainly, taking time to reconnect with yourself is an important aspect of self-care. And, as it turns out, building your community can help you reap some of the same mental wellness rewards. In fact, studies found that social ties could be a key component in maintaining mental wellbeing.
Community-oriented solutions have proven effective in treating mental health disorders. According to an article in World Psychiatry, a community approach to mental health care that looks at an individual within the context of their environment, builds systems for people to get holistic care, and understands the complexities of different populations can reduce stigma and help more people access the resources they need to care for their mental health. Plus, Mental Health America shares that connecting with others by spending time with people who you love and trust can reduce stress and improve your mood. So, find your people. And, when you find them, hang onto them tight.
Building community is for everyone. Investing in self-care can also help you build your community. According to Mindful, self-care with the intention of self-preservation “reaches beyond the individual to impact communities, neighborhoods, our nation, and, ultimately, the world.” So, investing in yourself is investing in your community. Take time to do the things that help you best show up for others—you’ll help your community and change the world.
Building community does not have to mean a jam-packed, color-coded social calendar. Here are a few ways you can connect with the people around you.
Please and thank you. Studies show that gratitude goes a long way. Researchers at the University of Oxford found that being kind to yourself and to others can actually make you happier. So, next time you’re on your morning coffee run and you see the barista who makes your perfect cup of joe every day, finally ask for their name and make sure to say “thank you.” Boom. New friend.
Check-in. Take time to connect with the people who matter to you. Sure, you can plan the perfect friend date. Or, you could also simply send a text to let them know you are thinking about them. Even better, find the perfect GIF or MEME you are certain will brighten their day.
Connect with your co-workers and peers. According to a study by the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, there is an association between workplace toxicity and some symptoms of depression. If you’re like most Americans and spend around 40 hours a week at work, building a healthy work environment can do wonders for your mental wellness. So, invite a coworker to try out that new local spot for lunch, acknowledge your peers’ accomplishments (here at Crisis Text Line we bang the gong to celebrate the big stuff!), and take the time off you need to recharge and be your best self at your job. Any work takes a team. Rally your peers to channel Beyoncé and get in formation.
Reach out. At Crisis Text Line, we are part of your community. Please reach out if you’re feeling alone or in crisis. We’re here for you—always. Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor