Loneliness Is Bad for Your Health

How to build community and purpose.

Man and woman visiting with neighbors over the fence.

Photo courtesy of Canva

How Loneliness Affects Your Health

Most of us faced some degree of loneliness in the past few years, due to quarantines.  Even if you were in a home filled with people, you missed certain relatives, and friends.  You may have missed having purpose to go out to work or church.  You missed having community with the people in your neighborhood, even if it was only at the hairdresser, grocery store, or restaurants.  

Studies show that having that sense of community is important to your health, both mentally and physically.  Without community, mortality rate goes up by 26%.  Obesity chances rise, along with heart disease, high blood pressure, mental cognition, and a weakened immune system to name a few.  Have you wondered how many people were sicker with the virus just because they had no supportive loved ones around them?  

I personally, gained weight and had levels of anxiety that I had never experienced before during quarantine.  Luckily, I live in an area that opened up stores, restaurants, and schools pretty quickly.  Many people were not so lucky, and are still struggling with these health issues.  

What Happens When You Have Contact With Community?

When you have contact and friendship with the people and community around you, you have more trust and psychological safety.  You feel more:

  • valued
  • accepted
  • dignity
  • resilience
  • support
  • ability to work through conflict
  • exchange of ideas
  • appreciation of different points of view

How to Build Community and Purpose

If you are feeling lonely, there are many ways you can build community.  You can join a group of others, or reach out and start your own group.  Social media groups are not a replacement for seeing people in person, but don’t discount their ability to enhance your growth and sense of belonging.  I’ve found many lasting friendships through Facebook groups.

Here are a few places I’ve found purpose, or opportunities I’ve seen around my own community.  I’m sure you have some similar opportunities where you live.  

  • Neighborhood
  • school system (they always need volunteers)
  • yoga studio or gym
  • local classes (story writing, business, painting, gardening, etc.)
  • Network marketing opportunities offer groups and training (I love doTERRA!)
  • Community events/festivals
  • Charitable groups
  • Church groups
  • Book clubs
  • Local spirituality shops
  • Community center/parks (A local park has nature tours and classes.)

You Can Help Strengthen the Health of Your Community

If you can’t find a community that you would like to belong to, create your own.  Look for interest in local Facebook groups or on the Nextdoor app.  I’ve seen people reach out to other moms to meet up, or even ask people to just hang out.  

When people build community where they live, they gain the support of their neighbors, contribute to a cleaner environment, build better education, strengthen the economy, and find joy.  

Tell me in the comments some of the unusual places you’ve found community with others.



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