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Stronger Bonds

How to find a sense of belonging and create a happier life

Two women laugh and clasp hands.
Martine Foreman
Martine Foreman May, 13, 2019

Book-lover, mom, kickboxer, motivator, dreamer 

Amid the hustle and bustle of daily life, it can be hard to feel a real sense of belonging at times. We totally get it!

Growing up, you could lean on friends from school, sports teams and extracurricular clubs for support. These days, it's a bit more complicated. Experiences like switching jobs, moving between cities, getting married and having children can (understandably) make it difficult to find a community that makes you feel understood and valued.

Many of us are often left wondering, "Where do I find my people?"

Finding the right community

Finding common ground with others is what makes life manageable and fulfilling. It can also bring a deep sense of peace and joy. Every day, there are countless opportunities to bond with people that can make you feel good and open new doors — you might just need a little help finding them. That's OK, because everyone needs a little help sometimes!

Here are a few tips to help you create a sense of belonging and bring more joy into your life, no matter where you are on your journey.

Give something exciting (and different) a try

Whether you're a dedicated mom, an ambitious professional, an amazing artist or all of the above, there's a group of people out there waiting to hear your story, connect with you and provide support. You can find those people by trying something new and exciting.

Getting together with a group of like-minded individuals who have different interests is a great way to learn, grow and feel like you're a part of something meaningful. For instance, if you've always enjoyed choreography but haven't had the chance to try it, consider joining a dance troupe.

Is a group trip to the theater or a new restaurant more your speed? You're in luck. Many community colleges and local organizations offer organized trips to amazing cultural events.

And don't forget about turning to technology for a little help! Joining the right Facebook group, using Nextdoor to meet your neighbors or connecting with a new friend on Meetup may be just what you need.

Be intentional about your time on social media

That said, it seems like most people have a love/hate thing going with social media these days. If you've ever wasted hours arguing with strangers online about ... well ... anything, really, then it's understandable why you might want to give social media some distance. But if you're intentional about what you share, how much time you spend on it and who you allow into your digital space, social media can give you that sense of belonging you desire.

Like any other aspect of your life, social media can take over your thoughts and leave you feeling depleted and disappointed — or it can add a ray of light to otherwise dreary days. It all comes down to who you build your network around! Try to focus on keeping interactions positive and don't waste energy on anything that's not worth your time.

Say "yes" to new things

Slacklining? Portraiture? Running your first 5K? How many times have you considered trying something new and then shied away from doing it because it was scary? We've all been there.

Here's something important to keep in mind: When you stretch yourself and try new (even scary) things, it gives you the opportunity to grow and meet amazing people. And sometimes those people — many of whom were also scared to enter an unfamiliar situation — become your people.

Stepping out of your comfort zone can open your eyes to communities and activities you may not have previously considered, so go for it! New experiences and friendships await you.

Spend more time with the people that matter

It can feel a bit daunting (and maybe even a little cliché), but the best way to strengthen your social circle is finding the time to connect with the people that matter to you most. It's possible that you share more common interests with people in your circle than you realize!

Consider hosting a dinner party with friends you haven't seen in a while, or maybe try planning a fun outing to the newest bubble tea shop. Although everyone is busy, you may be surprised by how many people are looking for an opportunity to get away and reconnect, too. Finding a sense of belonging isn't always about forming new connections — it can also be about nurturing the relationships you already have.

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