PodcastThe Power of Community: Part 1

The Power of Community: Part 1

Today is part 1 of Sam's deep dive into community and all the benefits that come with it. In this episode, she shares why community is so important, plus some tips to meet new people.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

(intro jingle) Headspace Studios. Hello, Sam here. Welcome to Radio Headspace and to Thursday. Today we're diving into one of my favorite topics, community, and we're devoting two episodes to it because there's so much to talk about. This is part one, and it's all about the benefits of community and some ways to find it. So let's dive in. For as long as I could remember, I have loved being part of groups. I, like many others, truly enjoy the feeling of belonging and it's essential to our mental health. Whenever a group forms, there's a common goal, interest and collective momentum that's really hard to achieve solo. This is because we behave differently in groups with some improvements and some downfalls. So for example, there's groupthink, like the tendency to ignore potential dangers if other group members are ignoring them or surrendering our capacity for critical thinking and individual analysis. But I believe that when we become aware of some of these downfalls of group behavior, we remove their power over us, leaving space for truly enjoyable and creative group experiences to happen. Maybe the reason I love community so much is because loneliness has always been one of the most difficult emotions for me. I remind myself that being alone is uncomfortable because being in a community has so many mental and physical health benefits and we're social creatures. Whereas loneliness can take quite a toll on us, leading to an increased risk for dementia and strokes, not to mention depression, anxiety, and premature death. On the flip side, when we feel a sense of belonging in a community, our creativity is stimulated. We feel safer, more secure in who we are and our lives are infused with two vital components, meaning and purpose. There have been many studies done on what are known as blue zones or places in the world that people tend to live significantly longer than average. And one of the components that all of these places have in common is the presence of strong social ties. As I was reading about these places, one spot in particular caught my attention, the Japanese island of Okinawa. The average lifespan there is 80 for men and 87 for women. And you can compare this to the global average of 68 for men and 73 for women. I read about how in Okinawa, elderly people are included and very involved in the activities of the community. In fact, many of them are part of a smaller community called Moai, which means meeting for a common purpose in Japanese. Moais are lifelong friendship groups initiated in childhood by parents. They meet consistently throughout their lives to hang out, read, maybe craft together, and share resources as well. And about half of Okinawans participate in Moais and are often part of more than one. Moais remind me of what we may call intentional communities which are groups of people who live in close proximity to each other,...

Details

TypePodcast
Duration5 min

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