When I think of summertime my thoughts go out to warm summer days, barbecues in the backyard, swimming pools, parks filled with people, and children’s laughter everywhere. It is a season for fun, relaxation and renewing connections with friends, neighbors and family.
Happiness research tells us the quantity and quality of a person’s social connections –neighborliness, friendships and relationships with family members – is closely related to one’s well being and overall happiness. People that actively spend time with friends and in community with others are less likely to experience sadness, loneliness, low-self esteem and problems with eating and sleeping. As we make an effort to be in community with others, not only do we individually gain these important health and well-being benefits, but those benefits also inured to those individuals with whom we come into contact. It is literally a gift that keeps on giving – no wonder it is at the core of our Christian faith.
It is often during these warm, summer days that we can experience a reconnection in our communities, as well as forge new connections. Attend an event that is new, break from the ordinary routine, or travel to an unexplored destination. Push yourself to meet different people by participating in a new activity, volunteer event or physical challenge.
The summer is a perfect time of year to be in community and to practice one’s inner Christian deacon qualities and general altruism – being kind to others, even strangers.
Hebrew’s 10:24-25 And let us consider how we provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…
Article by Emily Dowell