Mental illnesses have been prevalent in the United States, with over 46.6 million adults affected. From this group, only 42.6% have received mental health services. These statistics show how mental healthcare remains to be inaccessible for most people.
As a result, some people have sought out options to control stressful situations and avoid triggers. For some, caring for their mental health means belonging to a support group or a community.
While it is essential to seek medical care, it is also beneficial to surround yourself with a nurturing community. Before we discuss its benefits, we have to determine first what constitutes a community.
A Nurturing Community
There are many different types of community. A group of friends supporting each other can be a community, the same way that your neighborhood is, too. You can be living in different types of communities, and the best way to take advantage of this is by finding a healthy one.
According to the Center for Disease Control, healthy communities continuously improve physical and social environments to maximize their people’s potential.
With this definition, we can understand that it is not enough to surround yourself with people and call it a community. You must immerse yourself with people who nurture you for the best.
Here are some of the benefits of belonging to a healthy community.
- Live Within A Safe Space
Within a caring environment, you get to feel a sense of belonging. You can express yourself more without the fear of judgment.
Sure there will always be criticisms as you go on a journey to self-realization. But a community who cares will give you constructive feedback instead of dragging you down with negativity.
Hearing constructive criticism from your friends will make you feel secure because you know that they mean well.
Living in a safe space also applies to its literal meaning. Staying in healthy residential communities may help lessen the chances of stress and depression.
Studies have shown how participation in organized physical activities boost your self-esteem and social skills. Try participating in weekly sports games or social meetings with your neighbors.
With a safe space, you can avoid or at least lessen the impact of stressors on your mental health. Knowing you have a safe space may also help you focus on yourself and your mental health.
- Empower Yourself
A community may be a single solidified group, but it is still composed of individuals with personal strengths and weaknesses.
Living within a nurturing community gives you a sense of purpose. No matter how big or small your role in your group is, you know you are contributing to something larger than life.
Think of yourself as a puzzle piece to a bigger picture. Every single detail has a purpose that only it can fulfill. Without even just one piece, the outcome would be different, and the image wouldn’t have its meaning in full.
If you are still unsure of what your strengths and weaknesses are, your community can help you. You can try out skills and talents with them.
With their constructive criticisms, you will discover which skills you need to improve and what talents you’ve already perfected. By knowing your strengths and weaknesses, you can affirm your purpose and boost your self-esteem.
- Learn And Grow Collaboratively
Being with people with a positive mindset and a winning attitude will help you realize your goals better. You can set goals for yourself and the community. Staying with healthy people will also inspire you to create positive change, not just for yourself but also for them.
Having a healthy group of friends can also help you avoid or change unhealthy behavior. You can learn healthy coping mechanisms from them, and they can learn from you, too.
Taking steps for constant improvement will also feel easier to do with a community that encourages you to grow.
Healing is not always linear. At times, it may get hard to quantify your progress, especially when your steps are small and change is gradual. A community will be able to nurture you by giving you an external perspective. In this way, you would be able to track your progress better.
Being a part of a healthy community also requires your participation. Maintaining your relationship with your people involves both giving and taking. Remember also to play your role and help others get through their situations and achieve their set goals.
Take Action And Find A Community
With all these benefits—safe spaces, empowerment, and growth—you may feel excited about belonging to a nurturing community. Find solace in your existing circles, may it be your relatives, your friends, your neighbors, or your colleagues.
You may also search for a new community to immerse yourself in. You can start by volunteering for advocacy-driven organizations or by sparking up a new hobby or interest.
Aside from joining different groups, you can also be a part of a community through a therapist. If you struggle with mental health issues, seeking a therapist would help you control your situation.
A therapist will provide you with steps toward self-betterment and a support system to help you get through your healing process.