Being part of a strong community has been shown to have tremendous positive effects on our mental health and emotional wellbeing. Community involvement provides a sense of belonging and social connectedness. People who have a supportive community have been shown to have a healthier mindset, improved self-worth, and greater enjoyment in life. Having a strong community often offers extra meaning and purpose to our everyday lives as well.
Basically, we need community in order to be well!
In fact, Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones, found that people that lived in places with increased levels of social activity, community, and who developed a strong sense of purpose had a higher life expectancy than those that didn’t have that sense of community in place. “We’re genetically hardwired to crave social interaction and when you don’t have it, there’s a level of subconscious stress that grates away at you,” said Buettner.
But our modern world sometimes makes it difficult to connect with one another. We’re already more disconnected and isolated than ever before. Layer on a global pandemic and it feels almost impossible to gain that sense of community that so many of us crave.
So how do we build and nourish our communities, especially as our world continues to shift and change? You can use these 3 Cs:
Clarity: Connecting with others is one of the things that gives us purpose and meaning in our lives. It helps us not wake up feeling rudderless when we know we have a community of folks to love and support. It’s important to understand what your own individual purpose is and to keep that in mind as you begin to build your community. Also, it’s important to surround yourself with those who reflect your values.
Consistency: Honestly, this can be the toughest part. Once you start to build a community filled with people who reflect your values and who support you, you need to connect with them consistently. It doesn’t mean you always have to plan elaborate get-togethers, but it does mean checking in with them and continuing to invite them into your world.
Courage: The most important things in life require courage and effort. Community is no different. Building a thriving community means having the courage to try new things with new people. It also means having the courage to show vulnerability and bring people in. And it means having the compassion to meet others where they’re at so that you can make your community inclusive and safe.
Building a supportive, thriving community can feel difficult, but it’s definitely rewarding once you start.
I’d love to know how you build and nourish your own community through outdoor adventure.
Meet The team
A marketing consultant and leadership coach, Nailah never thought of herself as an outdoorsy person. But when she found herself dealing with the stresses of building a new business, being a new mother, and living in a new state away from all her family and friends, she and her husband started exploring local trails. It was an epiphany. The outdoors helped her slow down, listen to her heart, and reconnect with her passion.