Importance of Community – How Collective Solutions Help (2023)

Importance of Community – How Collective Solutions Help (1)

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What is community?

Why are communities so important?

8 types of communities

Importance of communities and mental health

community benefits

Start building

The word "community" is used so often today that it has achieved buzzword status. And when the term is thrown around in myriad contexts, it's easy to lose sight of the importance of community - and how to develop communities that bring meaning and joy to our lives.

What is community?

So what exactly is community? In its simplest form, it is a group of people who have something in common. This common factor could be family, geography, creed, race, or life stage. It could also be an overlapping interest, passion, or profession.

But for a group of people to form a true community that enriches the lives of its members, the people involved must also feel a shared sense of togethernessTrust, connection and caring for each other.

Why are communities so important?

Strong communities are crucial because they are often an important source ofsocial connectionand sense of belonging. Participating in a community bound together by attitudes, values, and goals is an essential part of living a fulfilling life.

The lack of social connections can have a profound impact on our overall health. This was shown by an early study on the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemicLoneliness was one of the factors with the greatest psychological impacton people's health. Some of the health effects of low social bonding include:

  • Increased risk factors.Studies show that people who lack strong social connections are also more likely to experience high levels of stress and inflammation, and are at higher risk of suicide and early death.
  • Chronic disease.Research consistently links the lack of social connectedness to health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, immune disorders and cancer. suicide and early death.
  • Mental health.Social isolation can also have an impactmental health and wellbeing. Strong social ties are crucial for mental health — they can reduce stress and anxiety and help people thrive.

Ultimately, communities provide people with a supportive group that helps them overcome tough challenges, band together to solve problems, and celebrate life's lighter moments.

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8 types of communities

Communities come in many forms, both formal and informal. Formal institutions like religious organizations, schools, and governments might be some of the first types of communities that come to mind. But informal groups such as car pools or study groups often play an important role in our lives.

Informal groups in particular are an important resource for people who are part of under-represented groups and may not have access to, or feel uncomfortable with, traditional organizations. For those seeking safe, inclusive spaces, informal meeting places like barbershops or online forums can become extremely meaningful sources of community.

Because communities can be based on many factors, such as location, identity, interests, or organization, you may already belong to several without even realizing it. Some common examples of communities are:

  • Neighbors

Some cities or neighborhoods are more closely connected than others, but many people belong to a community formed by a common zip code or street. For some, the people you meet every day on the sidewalk or in the hallway may be strangers. But they can also be friends, allies, or even people to turn to in difficult times.

  • Faith-Based Organizations

A group of individuals linked through religious or relatedSpiritual Beliefs is a longstanding community institution. Whether they meet in a church, synagogue, temple, or online, faith-based organizations can be one of the most easily recognizable forms of community because of their history, reach, and dense networks.

  • Hobby Clubs

Cooking, reading, running, music - there are endless possibilities for groups with common interests. Clubs or groups, linked by interests or activities, allow members to meet new people and cultivate newfound or longstanding personal passions. The available virtual options make finding and joining these groups easier than ever.

  • volunteer groups

Volunteering can take many different forms, from phone banking to cleaning a park. And volunteering can be driven by a large national nonprofit or a small grassroots initiative started in your own backyard. In any case, people who work together on a cause that is important to them often form a meaningful community.

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  • alumni networks

An alumni association or network typically exists in the context of an educational institution, combining multiple levels of shared experiences into one. Members may have fond memories of their time on the same campus, the class requirements they all completed, or the institutional traditions they participated in. Alumni networks provide social and professional connections long after individuals graduate.

  • Coworking Spaces

While they have always been more than just a place to work, lately the traditional coworking space has undergone new changes to become more than just a physical space. Modern coworking spaces have evolved in design and approachthis cohort of founders starting places for people of color. They offer both inclusive physical spaces and digital communities, underscoring the importance of community development in the workplace.

  • Professional Development Groups

Career networks exist for almost every type of job or specialty imaginable, and they can often be a great resource throughout an individual's career. These groups can gather for conferences, provide mentoring or training, investigate industry issues, and help members achieve their goals. Over time, these communities can serve as an important form of support and guidance for individuals and even shape entire professions.

  • Employee Resource Groups

    In organizations, aEmployee Resource Group (ERG)is a staff-led group that promotes inclusion and builds community. The purpose of an ERG is to create a safe, supportive space for underrepresented employees who share a common identity, and they may be organized around certain common characteristics such as gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation, or age. As a community, ERG members and organizational decision-makers work to create an inclusive corporate culture, connections, and personal and professional growth.

Importance of communities and mental health

In recent months, the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of community when it comes to mental health. Whenfeelings of isolation, anxiety and depression have risen during the pandemic, many people are looking for meaningful connections to help them cope — and that's one of the most important functions that communities perform.

Communities are inherently about relationships with others and a sense of connectedness that they havea major impact on mental health. Without community, people may feel more isolated and lonely.

One of the ways we can boost our sanity is throughBuilding a community and providing the social connection and support to have more vulnerable conversations. By creating spaces where open dialogue is safe and encouraged, people can deepen their understanding of one another, work together to address challenges, and find the support they need to get through difficult times.

8 benefits of communities

  • A support network

As a member of a community, you have access to a support network of like-minded people. Whether you're reaching out to your community to show compassion, seek advice, or simply share your story, having a supportive group in your life can have a powerful impact on your overall well-being.

  • Professional development

members of a professional communitycan help promote growth and performance. In particular, ERGs can develop internal leaders, train employees, and have a positive impact on retaining members of underrepresented groups.

  • Determination

With a secure sense of belonging comes a sense of purposesomething people are increasingly looking for due to the pandemic. Belonging and purpose can help increase feelings of solidarity and fulfillment, which can be important both personally and professionally. And a strong sense of purposemay even help you live longer.

  • reduce stress

Communities can be a source of joy! Coming together physically or virtually, finding points of connection with others, and enjoying moments of celebration and camaraderie can leave us feeling engaged and refreshed. These positive feelings can help reduce stress and anxiety.

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  • New inspiration and ideasWhen you immerse yourself in a group of individuals, you are exposed to a diversity of ideas, viewpoints, and personalities. There's bound to be something new to learn or an unexpected thought to appreciate from your colleagues.
  • Empowered Decision Making

An empowering environment comes from mutual trust and respect, which underscores the importance of community development. In a strong community where people have the opportunity to build each other up and develop trust,People feel more confident and engagedwithin the organization and at an individual level.

  • Better communication skills

Effective communication requires connection to others, an important pillar of a community. Building relationships with other community members is an exercise in listening and building meaningful relationships.

  • Greater resilienceResilience is a quality that affects how people respond to and cope with change.Belonging to a community offers a form of supportprovides a buffer against the stresses of resilience.

Start building your communities

Communities can take many different forms and are formed based on all kinds of commonalities - including shared interests, geography or identity.

It's best to be part of a groupsocial connections, friendship and practical and emotional support. They can help us see the world in new ways and give us the perspective we need.

Community involvement can enrich the lives of the people in your teams and help individuals overcome the obstacles in their path.

We all need community. You can use your own example to show your teams the importance of community. Start looking for ways to get involved in the communities in your life.

Not sure where to start? The beauty of communities is that you can contribute just by participating. Just showing up can enrich your life and the lives of others, and build more resilient organizations and societies.

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Released November 3, 2021

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