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The Importance of Community and Connection – How Having Community Builds Your Mental Health

We often hear the saying that “humans are wired for connection,” but what does that really mean? It means that having places where we feel cared for, accepted, and feel like we belong can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Being able to have a sense of community and connection can have an impactful influence on our mental health!

What purposes can community and connection serve in our lives?

To know we’re not alone and how to depend on others m

Attempting to navigate this world can be really hard to do on our own. It’s likely possible, but it can be a relief to know that we are not by ourselves. Being part of a community can help us learn how to trust and create a healthy sense of interdependence with our chosen people. Many studies suggest that feelings of belongingness can have a very positive impact on mental health! Having the validation and knowledge that there are those who have gone before us, those who go alongside us, and those that will come after us can help us realize that we do not have to navigate life by ourselves. As Beyoncé says, “You’re part of something way bigger.” Connection and community can help us realize that we have the power to contribute to each other’s well being. 

RELATED: Letting Go of “Survival Mode”

To share resources and information

Community is not just helpful in meeting emotional needs, community can be helpful in getting us the resources we need. The old saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” could be considered here. When we are engaged in community we have a rich network of people who can help us get our needs met or help us achieve our dreams. Need a job? Contact the good sis you met at the hair salon bonding under that seemingly never ending dryer cycle and she may know of a place that’s hiring. Need recommendations on where to start planning for a surprise party for a family member? Call the friend who loves planning events and has contacts for venues, catering, and an eye for decor. Engaging with a community can help us learn how to share resources and information for the survival and advancement of ourselves and others. 

Sometimes the resources we offer our communities are not monetary or material in nature, but they are just as valuable. Many of us can remember staying with family or family friends while our other family members traveled. Many of us have benefitted from a community member offering us a hot plate of food or maybe a place to stay when our circumstances changed that impacted our lives. 

We can see how the absence of this aspect of community could be a detriment to someone. A lack of resources or a lack of access to needed resources can make it difficult for a person to get their needs met, which can negatively impact the quality of a person’s mental health. Conversely, being part of a community in which resources are shared or made accessible could aid in meeting a person’s needs, which could contribute to improved mental health.

RELATED: The Balancing Act: Taking Care of Others and Self

To offer support and meet emotional needs

While we navigate our lives it can be important to have people and places where we can exhale, take off the masks we may (or have to) wear in public, and be our most authentic selves. Community can offer us words or gestures of encouragement and places of refuge for us. When we surround ourselves with people we find to be safe we can share the whole range of our human experience with them. Safe community creates support that does not require perfection, constant achievement, or any type of performative measure. Having connection with others can also help create a “safe home base” for us to return to as we try out different things in our lives. There can be something comforting about feeling like you are always welcome home to your community. When we can safely share the whole spectrum of our human emotion, we can experience feelings of safety, acceptance, and belonging which can have a great impact on our mental health. We can learn to understand and regulate our emotions in relation to people around us through connection too!

RELATED:Teaching Others How to Treat You

To offer perspective and correction 

Human beings are social creatures, and much of our learning can take place through a social lens. We often learn what behaviors gain us acceptance and which behaviors can lead to isolation through our interactions with others. When we have safe connections and communities we can engage in correction that is rooted in connection. When we are corrected within a trusted community it can be a learning experience that has no ulterior motive other than to improve the quality of our lives or interactions with others.

Have you ever waited to try a new product or eat at a restaurant until you heard about it from someone you know? Sometimes we are most receptive to feedback or suggestions that come from those we feel have something in common with us. The same can be true with learning about differing perspectives and how to understand and interpret the things that happen in our lives. We all have “blind spots” in which we may not know how we come across or are experienced by others. We can learn a lot by getting feedback from those who know the context about who we are, how we show up, and those who know what it means to be us. 

In summary

Connection is incredibly important for our mental health! Many of us experience healing in community through experiences of being seen, heard, and valued. Having experiences of connection and belonging within communities is important for our survival and advancement. When rooted in care, our connections within our communities can uplift us, help to sustain us, and help teach us things that may take longer for us to learn on our own.

For a book that goes deeper into the power of connection and community check out Dr. Joy’s new book Sisterhood Heals!


Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Sisterhood heals
Order Now

Looking for the UK Edition?
Order here

Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Looking for the UK Edition? Order here