The Psychological Effects of Living in Community 

December 12, 2023

Written by Natalija Gligorevic

“We are social animals by nature, so we tend to function better when we’re in a community and being around others,” says Dr. Sawchuk, a Mayo Clinic psychologist who specializes in mental health.  

Participating in a community setting, by being around others and socializing, has many positive psychological effects. In short—it is healthy for your brain. Connecting with others improves cognitive skills and sharpens memory, acting like fuel for your brain.  

Community acts as a fuel for your well-being as well, igniting positive emotions and sensations. The strong relationships built within a community offer three critical key points for prosperous mental health: belonging, support, and purpose. Community brings meaning to life, expanding our world views and horizons. Communities like church, volunteering, or book clubs bring with it an introspective, psychologically well life. 

The Survey of the Health of Wisconsin, a household-based survey that evaluates self-reported health, health history, quality of life, demographic, and behaviors, conducted in 2014 and 2016 helped pinpoint the exact relationship between community and psychological or mental health. Through cross-sectional analysis, the study concluded, “Compared with those who report a positive sense of community, those with a negative sense of community had a significantly higher odds of reporting depression, anxiety and stress symptoms…individuals’ sense of community is associated and reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.”  

According to Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Youth University, social isolation takes similar tolls on the brain as smoking fifteen cigarettes daily. Avoiding social relationships and community dampens cognitive functions, increases risk of depression and anxiety, and lowers overall life quality. 

However, it is easy to reverse these possible negative effects by searching for a community that indulges in your common interests, beliefs, and passions. With a good support system around, the effects maintain a healthy mind, leading to content and happy life.  

As you consider the type of community where you would like to live, consider Garden Spot Village. With a full-range of residential living as well as continuing health care, should you need it, Garden Spot Village offers abundant opportunities to live with purpose in community.

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