Community and a sense of belonging are important to all of us. When we are isolated, we are in our own heads too much and we can overthink things or become fixated on them. The desire to feel connected to others is essential to our personal well-being. I know it’s essential to mine.
By nature I’m a people person. Currently, however, I am often alone in my home office and when I begin to feel isolated I will purposely make appointments or go to a coffee shop just to be around other people. Do you do that?
Make no mistake, we can still feel isolated in a crowd. In order for us to connect and feel part of a community we have to be involved with others. It’s a concept called gemeinschaftsgefühl that I learned while studying Adlerian Psychology at the Adler Graduate School. It’s a German word that means “a state of social connectedness and interest in the well-being of others.” In short, social interest.
To develop a true sense of community we need to have conversations and interactions that take us beyond “hello, how are you?” We need to connect socially. When we get to know others it also means we allow others to get to know us. Through this social interaction, we start to care for each other and become concerned for one another. We naturally want to help and support each other. That’s a healthy community.
How do you start this? It can begin over a mutual interest or a shared activity. You could start by joining a group such as a book club at your local library, a Bible study, or even a writers group. Find a place where you will learn and grow in a healthy, meaningful way. Attend a local event such as a workshop or class where you can meet others who share your interests. It can be scary to join a new group because you will be meeting people you don’t know. But by becoming involved in an activity such as a cooking class, art-making, or volunteering for a favorite charity it gives you a common connection to start a conversation. Hopefully it’s less scary than staying in isolation.
At Art Lab Rx, we offer a safe space to build community through our online wellness groups called Creative Break. Art making in community can improve your ability to cope with daily struggles and provide an outlet for creativity. Learn more about what Creative Break has to offer you. We welcome you to our community!
– Lisa Lounsbury, MA, LMFT, ATR-BC, Executive Director of Art Lab Rx, LLC