There’s a special kind of joy that happens in groups. We find our greatest times of happiness in moments of collective effervescence. It’s a concept coined by the sociologist Emile Durkheim to describe the sense of energy and harmony people feel when they come together in a group around a shared purpose.
Human beings aren’t meant to be alone. Community is critical to our health and well-being.
The happiest times of our lives are not usually spent in isolation but among friends, family and loved ones. We treasure life’s most precious moments together at special ceremonies like weddings, holidays, festivals and birthdays.
Equally, when times are hard so too do we find encouragement, hope and optimism in the support of others. That is why caregiving support groups are so essential.
As lockdowns and social distancing became the norm, there were fewer and fewer of these moments. Now that things have improved, many people are having a hard time reconnecting.
In cultures where they pursue happiness socially, through connecting, caring and contributing, people appear to be more likely to gain well-being.
It’s normal to be nervous or even feel guilty about reconnecting especially when we are bombarded with new subvariants that are highly contagious.
So how do we relearn how to be together? Here are some ideas:
- Give yourself permission to set small, achievable goals.
- Balance your need to be around people with your need to protect your health.
- Accept that certain activities may be tough for a while, flying, sporting events, traveling.
- Reach out to someone you’ve lost touch with.
- Participate at the level you are comfortable with.
- Consider joining a support group. They are communities of sharing, caring and connection.
Communities are meaningful and beneficial to our well-being. They provide support and safety, connection and belonging, shared activities and ideas, and strong bonds.
We are craving community and cannot live our best lives without it.
Our mental and physical health literally depend on being part of strong and capable communities.
Remind yourself how much you matter and consider the ways you can strengthen and sustain yourself in community.