In Community We’re Stronger

The COVID-19 crisis stole many aspects of our lives that are important to our health. Of course, the obvious loss has been our sense of physical health and safety, but what about our mental health? For many of us, COVID stole the things we gather around. It stole our concerts, our wine nights, our dinner parties, our exercise classes and our church services. It stole our community and our connections. As a result, many of us desperately grasped opportunities to meet outside at backyard dinners and outdoor potlucks. But, it turns out establishing and maintaining community no matter where we have to plop down is always going to be a good choice for our health.  

An article last fall from NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Health), discussed the importance of community on mental health. We’re social beings, states the article, and we are not meant to live in isolation. Our nervous systems are hardwired to depend on each other, according to the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. Even species with a primitive brain, such as ants, show this tendency. The journal also stated that given the importance of social interactions for humans, it is not surprising that most psychiatric disorders involve some disruption of normal social behavior, and that in several disorders abnormal social functioning is one of the central symptoms. Community plays a crucial role in our ability to thrive as human beings, especially for those who already struggle with mental health. NAMI identifies three main reasons why this is true…

Community is beneficial because it provides a sense of belonging. When you feel like you are a part of a community that understands you; you can relax, unwind and be your true self. Community also provides support. This idea goes back to our nervous systems; in order to feel stable, we need people we know we could count on if we found ourselves in danger. Lastly, community provides purpose. When we are a part of a community we are given a significant role to play. According to neuroscientist Dr. Jordan Grafman from the National Institutes of Health, humans are actually biologically “wired” for generosity. Generous behavior activates the same neuropathways triggered by sex and food—a correlation that may help to explain why helping and giving to others feels good. 

According to NAMI, those who are looking for community can usually find it using one of three aspects of identity: interests, values and beliefs. No matter where you find community one thing is for sure, you must find it! Whether big or small, community is critical to maintaining good mental health and overall well-being. This September the Sharonville Convention Center held, An Evening on the Patio, events every Saturday to help our community experience the benefits of a safe, outdoor gathering. We loved watching people come together, laugh together and make memories. Everyone seemed to forget their worries for one special night and we aren’t giving up on the fun just yet! Beginning October 18th, join us every Sunday afternoon for Big Sunday Brunch in our spacious Northern Lights ballroom. These events are what make Sharonville Convention Center and the events we hold so special. People get to escape the harshness of reality for a while and unwind doing something they love with people they love. At SCC, we are committed to keeping community happening!