Sunday, January 23, 2011
Resolution #23: Encourage Community
Feeling isolated? You're--so to speak-- not alone. Despite our fat facebook friends lists, Americans are spending less time in group and individual interactions and counting fewer people as confidantes than in previous history. We work more, move more, attend church and civic groups less, volunteer less, walk less. We have fewer sidewalks and front porches, all which used to encourage us to bump into our neighbors. We watch videos and streaming concerts instead of attending theaters and live music. In general, our places of worship, schools and other commnunity gathering sites are larger and usually outside of our immediate neighborhood. Our banks and grocery stores are owned by anonymous corporations who don't know us or our individual needs. All of this results in feelings of isolation and anonymity.
If positivity research is a bit muddy on some things, it is in consensus on one: social connectedness increases happiness and health. A meta-analysis of nearly 150 studies found strong links between mental and physical wellness and feeling tied to community. Read a NYTimes article about it here.
For this resolution, do a social inventory. How many people in your extended family, neighborhood and community did you connect in the last seven days? How can you increase it this week? And what is one thing you can do to increase connectivity within your community?
There's so many ways to work on this resolution. Spend more time in your front yard, and greet your neighbors. Volunteer. Throw a potluck. Call or write an old friend or family member. Need more?
150 things you can do to build social capital: from bettertogether.org.
Related posts: CONNECT
Nourished by Community