Being that we are naturally social beings, it makes sense that social connections are a major part of the makeup of our mental health. This does not mean that socialization is is a priority for everyone. Introverts do exist, but even introverts need some social connections… just less than others!
I bring up the importance of community connections because in my line of work as a mobile therapist, often one of my biggest goals for the families I work with is to increase their natural supports, This is a major goal because eventually services will stop, I will no longer be visiting the home, and the families will have to support themselves without the aid of services. The stronger the natural support system, the stronger the chances are for success long term, which means my families are less likely to need services again.
This means I encourage my families to become ACTIVE members of their communities! This can mean showing up at the local fire hall’s fish fry or attending a community days event. This means shopping locally and when doing so, making sure to interact with the people at the store! This could be fellow shoppers, the butchers, the deli workers, or the cashiers. It’s simply about being out, being visible and trying to interact with those around you.
This is not always the easiest of tasks. Coming from someone that battles with social anxiety, there are plenty of times I enter a grocery store and the last thing I want to do is talk to anyone… especially anyone new. So I am not handing out these instructions without understanding the difficulty that comes with achieving them. But I hand them out because I understand the long term benefits of making our connections count.
That’s why I am building my August West Wellness Center. I am working to be the change I want to see the in the world and provide a safe place for people to socialize in a judgment free zone. There will be dances, and cook outs and all sorts of merriment to help people build their connections.
But my center doesn’t exist yet. I don’t have that space for yins to socialize and make these connections. So until then, we have get out in our communities. We have to talk to our neighbors, our store clerks, our mail mans, our trash collectors…
Every day you have a chance to make a new connection. Every day you have a chance to meet someone that can change your entire world.
For more research, please check out these following links:
Click to access Building-a-good-life-The-role-of-natural-supports-in-recovery-from-mental-illness.pdf