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Community well-being centers on your feelings about where you live. Do you like your community? Do you feel safe there? Does it inspire pride?
Experts say there are three aspects of community well-being. It turns out environment, volunteerism and connectedness are key.
Let’s consider the importance of each.
Well-being always begins with the necessities. It’s no different for community well-being. Do you have access to clean air and water? Do you feel safe walking in your neighborhood? If these basic needs aren’t met, it can cause stress. Stress has a negative effect on your health and well-being.
Programs and structures can help support your community environment. Some of these things include:
Winston Churchill once noted, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Chalk it up to his way of saying “giving” enriches our lives. Giving is an activity that benefits both the recipient and the giver.
Volunteering is the giving your time. It can affect your physical and emotional well-being in lots of ways. Want to boost your self-esteem? Lower your stress or blood pressure? Volunteer.
People who contribute toward their community’s well-being often say their greatest accomplishment is the difference they made in a person’s life, organization or community. Helping others can produce a deeper connection with your community. It also fosters a greater sense of belonging, purpose and social contact.
Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) has an employee volunteer program – Blue Corps. The program connects volunteers with opportunities to give back.
Wondering about the best way to become more involved? For starters, find something you’re passionate about. It can be anything from a national organization to your local food kitchen or hospital. Volunteering is no different than most areas of our lives. If we like it or feel good doing it, we will most likely continue.
How connected are you with your community? These questions can help you gauge your connectedness.
If you answered “no” to any or all these questions, start thinking about ways to turn your answer into “yes.” Identify and contribute to an area that matches your interests and strengths.
You might like to walk dogs at your local Humane Society. Maybe you want to join your community watch group. Think about bringing food to a homeless shelter. They’re all great ways to help nurture community well-being. No step is too small when it comes to making a difference.
Just joining us for this series? Check out the previous article on social well-being, or head back to the beginning.
Originally published 9/29/2016; Revised 2022
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
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