We are often told that “you are who you surround yourself with.” Aside from our personality and interests being a reflection of those we connect with, our health and happiness are also directly linked. It’s critical to our overall health to surround ourselves with people who make us feel good and positive.
Dr. Gray and her team are focusing on the importance of family and community as part of their getting back to the basics 2022 series.
Creating a Family or Community
Family and relationships can look different for everyone. Not all of us have blood relatives around us such as a spouse or children. You can create a “family” in any way you choose – this might be through a church organization, group of friends, etc. Regardless of what that family looks like to you, it should be a community that brings a sense of kinship, camaraderie, and connectedness.
Communities provide responsibilities, unique opportunities for people to learn from each other, and are a place for support and encouragement. Additionally communities provide a space for members to:
- Influence positive change
- Share ideas, knowledge, and insight
- Connect and build deeper relationships
- Share what they are passionate about
- Spread confidence and encouragement
- Provide motivation.
Being a part of a community can have a positive effect on your mental health and wellbeing. Having a group of people to connect with and a space to grow in will help you have a healthier mindset, improve your self-worth, and increase your enjoyment of life.
Feeling Safe and Connected
Great relationships, even with direct family, don’t just happen. They require work and contribution to be successful. Sometimes, we can learn this the hard way and lose people we thought were close to us. In order to thrive in a community and experience a shared emotional connection, you have to be intentional about things and feelings.
It is so important to our mental health to be connected to a community and have intentional relationships where you feel secure. It’s common to see strong feelings of trust and psychological safety in relationships where individuals know that the community will have their backs and will provide them with a safe place to be themselves. These are the types of relationships that present individuals with resources that not only make you feel safe and healthy, but also positively impact your mental health.
You have to go beyond being intentional about your feelings, you have to prioritize spending time with your family and the community you built to continue to see success in those relationships. Work and responsibilities are never ending. So it’s important to remember in times of stress and in the chaos of life, to hold the feeling of how good and positive you feel when you make time to spend with family, friends, and people who are important to you.
The best way to make an intentional effort in spending time with friends and family is to create weekly, daily, or monthly habits and traditions to help stay connected. Dr. Gray makes sure to schedule in time weekly to connect with her friend from chiropractic school. By making time in her busy schedule to stay connected and prioritizing her tradition, it becomes as important as a business meeting.
These weekly, daily, or even monthly traditions could look different for every family and community due to busy and conflicting schedules. It could look like a monthly dinner with friends or a family breakfast every Sunday morning with no phones, no TV, and just prioritizing quality time together.
Knowing that regardless of the stresses from the day or week you always have that time scheduled together will make that time a priority. From a mental health standpoint, having a community and family that understands the tradition is precious time spent together, makes a conscious effort to nurture the relationship, and respects the time scheduled, will help every member of that community thrive in the relationship and in their personal lives.
Did you miss last month’s blog that focused on the importance of recreation and the effects it has on your mental health? Check it out here!