There are many causes of loneliness. You could have recently moved, lost someone important to you, or been made to feel isolated or alone. Loneliness isn’t just caused by the lack of social interaction—it’s also caused by a lack of human connection.
You can be in a room of 50 people and still feel lonely. But whatever the reason, you don’t have to stay feeling this way. Perhaps, it is time to reach out and find your community.
Being a part of a community is important for us to live rich and fulfilling lives. Having a solid community helps us prevent chronic diseases, encourages better mental health, and lowers risk factors caused by stress.
8 Tips on How to Find Your Community
A community of people who understand you and cheer you on through your highs and lows—they are easy to find. They are waiting out there, ready to take you into their microcosms and spend time connecting with you.
So, here are eight tips on how to find your community and stop feeling lonely.
1. Spend Some Time Working Out Your Hobbies and Interests
There is no point in reaching out and joining a community of people if you have zero interest in the subject. For example, if you love a book series, joining a sports fan club isn’t going to be the place for you.
By spending time working out what you like, it is much easier to find and connect with a community that you will enjoy spending time with.
If you are anxious about putting yourself out there and making new friends, it is better to go with something you know and understand because then, you will always have something to talk to people about even when you feel shy.
Loneliness isn’t stopped by just interacting with people—it’s stopped by connection, so you need to connect with people, not just see them.
As I said, you can be in a room of 50 people and still feel lonely. Or, you can be in a room with one person and feel fulfilled.
2. Reach Out to Your Current Friends
You have a plethora of friends, close or distant, all with their own hobbies, interests, passions, and micro-communities. Reach out and spend time with them. Invite them to do activities you both want to do, or ask them to join in on some of theirs.
Never be afraid to ask for help or try new things. If you are friendly with a neighbor who goes to a knitting class, ask for support and go with them. Your community is waiting for you to find them, but you have to go looking for them as well because they are rarely the ones to knock on your door looking to recruit you.
3. Try to Get Into Fitness or Sports Groups
A great way to make new friends, find a community and improve your life is to find a physical activity with a great community and turn up. This can be a local running club, a gig rowing community, or roller derby.
Whatever sport or physical activity you have always wanted to try, there is always an amateur team or a micro-community of people who just kick a ball around on a Friday night.
You can even start something yourself. Ask a friend to walk around the block with you each day, and watch it snowball. As people want to join in, you walk farther each day and before long, it’s the best part of your day.
4. Find and Attend Places of Worship
A group of people who live by your values and choices is the ideal place to start looking for a community.
Religion is a great place to find a common group of people who believe in what you believe in and meet up to discuss it. Whatever your opinions are on religion and religious communities, more often than not, it is a wonderful place where people come together to practice kindness, gratitude, and peace.
If you are religious and you are feeling disconnected, find your place of worship and start finding your community.
5. Find and Participate in Support Groups
Another place to find your community is in support groups. If you have been through a trauma, it can be really hard to connect with people who don’t understand what you have been through.
If you are struggling to express yourself and open up, finding a support group can give you a great sense of community and help prevent you from feeling isolated and alone. Other benefits of participating in support groups include reducing depression and fatigue, boosting motivation, and gaining a sense of empowerment and hope.
There is great power in being seen and expressing yourself in a safe space.
6. Join Advocacy or Volunteer Groups
The world is a wonderful place, but there are still many aspects of our world that need improvement. So, find your cause and fight for it.
Nothing brings people together like a common cause and vision. If you want to end the plastic crisis, fight for equality, or just campaign to make your neighborhood safer, there is always an advocacy or volunteer group dedicated to your cause and making the world a better place.
Volunteering can help you fight depression and boost your self-confidence. Also, it not only improves your mental health but can help improve your physical health as well.
Find your community, sign up, and you will soon meet a bunch of passionate people who also believe in what you believe.
7. Join and Participate in Book Clubs and Sports Leagues
Think about your hobbies and interests. You don’t have to play sports to show an interest in statistics and skills. There are many sports where people go to enjoy and discuss them without actually playing the sport regularly.
Sports are a powerful unifier and creator of communities, as are books, TV shows, and geek culture. Sports communities are also helpful in developing one’s emotional well-being, social and teamwork skills, self-esteem, and leadership skills, among others.
Whatever your interests are, there are people out there who also love what you love and would love to hang out with you and talk about these topics.
Once you start a connection, you can build on it and become part of each other’s lives. Most deep friendships are forged by having something in common and then connecting with all of your other interests.
8. Learn to Start Saying Yes
This one may be strange, but you need to start saying yes when people invite you to activities and events. Instead of saying no and thinking of all the things that you aren’t doing, take a risk instead and try something new.
If you want to, it is always fun to try new things, and get yourself into new situations.
Did your work friends invite you out after work? Say yes! Spend time and connect with them, allowing you to also find a common ground outside of your work.
If your mother asks you to go gardening with her, say yes! If your friends keep inviting you to try their new gym class, say yes!
Never be afraid to put yourself out there and try new things. If you need some inspiration, I have always thought the movie Yes Man featuring Jim Carrey was a great inspiration to start saying yes.
Your community has always been out there waiting for you to come and join them. You just have to be a little proactive and work out what you love and find people who believe in that, too.
There is huge power in finding a community of people built on the same values that you believe in, and being able to find that community will change you for the better and help you live a more productive and fulfilled life.
Featured photo credit: Kylie Lugo via unsplash.com
|||^||Frontiers in Psychology: Absence and Presence of Human Interaction: The Relationship Between Loneliness and Empathy|
|||^||Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine: Why Community Health Is Important for Public Health|
|||^||verywellmind: How Social Support Contributes to Psychological Health|
|||^||PubMed Central: Social Support and Resilience to Stress|
|||^||Mayo Clinic: Support groups: Make connections, get help|
|||^||Western Connecticut State University: Benefits of Community Service|
|||^||Ball State University: Importance of club sports in higher education|