Community: An Essential Element for Overall Wellbeing
It is without doubt that the overall wellbeing of a person is determined by many factors, among them being physical and financial health. However, many people nowadays are forgetting that community is also one of the essential elements, as people are now more driven towards the idea of self-reliance, particularly in big cities where neighborhoods are gated and residents sometimes don’t even know each other, consumed by the demands of life and ambitions.
While ambitions and success are positive outcomes in life, they do not necessarily contribute to life satisfaction, which may be the reason why Latin Americans are the happiest people in the world despite their political and economic problems. Residents of wealthy states in the US such as New York and California, on the other hand, were among the least happy people in the country despite their successes. Another study also pointed out that people who regularly attend religious services are more satisfied with their lives than those who do not, though surprisingly the outcome was actually derived from the number of friends these people have at the religious services, not the religious beliefs or worshipping practices. This further illustrates the good effects of community as part of daily life. Moreover, in a larger study involving 51 nations around the world in 2004, results showed that social connections in all forms, such as marriage, family, friends, neighbors, civic engagement, workplace ties and social trust, are each independently and strongly linked to happiness and life satisfactions. Besides that, the rise of social media sometimes creates a false sense of engagement with groups of other people, when in truth; the best relationships are often built from actual encounters and common activities or interests. Strangers on social media, on the other hand, are less likely to lend a helping hand when in need, like when your house is robbed while you’re away.