4 min read

How to Cultivate Community for Greater Wellbeing

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As a society, we are going through a long period of division and separation — pandemic separation, political divisiveness, global unrest. There is so much distrust, loneliness, and despair.

More and more it seems these seeds of division trickle down to our work lives, our home lives, and the personal internal monologue of our life. So what is the antidote for division?


There are examples of community all around you. When you become a family, you foster community and connections among generations. When you join a company, you look for community with coworkers, striving for a common goal. As a citizen, you contribute to the community by actively participating in politics and supporting leaders who govern with intelligence, passion, and transparency.

So, let’s take a minute to understand what community is, and discuss ways we can cultivate, support, and champion it.

What is Community?

Community is the sense of belonging and camaraderie with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and aspirations.

Our communities reflect the essence of our humanity, showcasing the importance of unity and social bonds. Community plays a vital role in our happiness, highlighting the significance of human connections at the core of our being.

It's important to remember that community is not synonymous with uniformity. People who have formed a community and built camaraderie together come from diverse backgrounds and have different perspectives. The strongest communities often arise from groups with a wide range of viewpoints, as they make an effort to discuss their differing ideas, challenge their biases, and find common ground. Community thrives when there is a shared purpose, shared values, and a meaningful objective. Lasting communities are built on a foundation of kindness and empathy. Feeling a sense of community comes from within, and the power of community has the potential to positively transform the world.

What are the Health Benefits of Community?

When we bring a sense of community to our lives, we enjoy some notable health benefits…

  • Boosted Brain Health: Feeling in community with others has been shown to increase dopamine. Increased dopamine elevates mood, satisfaction, and motivation. Increased dopamine also supports restorative sleep, improves concentration, and enhances memory and recall.
  • Positive Feedback Loop: Feeling in community makes you feel validated and valued. The more positive social interactions you have, the more you increase your overall feeling of well-being, which inspires more positive interactions, etc. The bottom line is greater social connectedness generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional, and physical well-being.
  • Increased Happiness: Focusing on friendships, romantic relationships, and familial relationships that are rooted in unity fosters feelings of positivity, calm, and peace.
  • Decreased Anxiety and Depression: As naturally social beings, feeling connected to others is essential for reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Improved Immune System: Feelings of connection and unity with others has a positive impact on whole health with a decreased risk of heart disease, reduced inflammation, and a boost to immune system function.
  • Increased Self-Compassion: You feel the strongest connection with others when you act with kindness and empathy to those around you. As that feeling of community deepens, you’ll find the kindness and empathy reflected back to you. The kinder people are to you, the kinder you will be to yourself. Being in community brings you closer to others, but it also has the side benefit of bringing you closer to yourself.

How Do We Cultivate a Sense of Community?

It’s not enough to want community. You need to take active steps to strive for cultivating community in your life and in the world:

  • Lose the “me” mentality: There is one piece of advice for a happy marriage that speaks to the idea of “community” — When you put your spouse’s needs before your own and your spouse puts your needs before theirs, everyone’s needs will be met. The same idea supports the efforts to foster a sense of community. Reach out to others. Show an interest in others. Listen to others. When everyone drops the “me” mentality and looks to support the “we”, communities blossom through reciprocal connection.
  • Let go of the past: A shared past is often a strong foundation for fostering community. But when the past is filled with anger or disappointment, staying stuck in the past only fosters a sense of division. Let it go! Drop the baggage filled with past injustices you’ve been lugging around and walk lightly through the world. The bottom line is, you can’t change the past, but you can learn from it. Figure out what the lesson is, and then move forward to find new common ground with others.
  • Find creative ways to foster collaboration: When you make others feel valued, that opens their heart to collaboration. Listen more than you speak. Learn from the experience of others. Share your gifts with humility. Nothing feels more empowering than feeling truly “seen” for your contribution, no matter how small.
  • Maintain respect and respect boundaries: Being in community doesn’t mean speaking with one voice. It means infusing every interaction with respect. When you bump up against another person’s boundary, take it as a teachable moment and try to see the world from their perspective. You just might learn something.
  • Seek out what brings you a sense of hope and positivity: What brings you joy — religion, nature, art, music, animals, helping others? Join a group that feeds your passion, and that common ground is the seed that could grow into community.

Improve Your Sense of Community at OHI

Community refers to the state of being united or working together towards a common goal. In a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected, community has never been more critical. When we bring a sense of community to our lives, we enjoy some notable health benefits including boosted brain health, decreased anxiety, and improved immune system function. There are steps you can take to strive for community in your life and in the world: Lose the “me” mentality, let go of the past, find creative ways to foster collaboration, maintain respect and respect boundaries, and seek out what brings you a sense of hope and positivity. The efforts you put into fostering community in your life today will eventually create a world where each of us can thrive, and where we celebrate the beauty and richness of our differences.

One of the best ways to foster community is with a wellness retreat at OHI. Our wellness retreats give you the time and education you need to implement meaningful change in your life. The gift of a healing retreat at OHI promises to be life changing. Call us today (800) 588-0809 to book your stay!