Is a sense of community important?

It definitely helps to share your feelings. People who don’t share their thoughts and feelings, those who hide their distress, who lack social support, often feel isolated or disconnected from others. Studies have revealed that people who live alone suffer more heart disease than people who don’t, and that stress and isolation have a high correlation with death from heart disease. Other studies have found a link between low social support and poorly functioning immune systems.
For an isolated person, finding social support may be stressful at first, just as learning about the workings of the mind may be stressful. After all, people find themselves isolated because relationships can be stressful, so they avoid them. However, now that you have read that isolation is linked to an increased risk of death from heart disease, you may be willing to take some steps to reduce that risk. Therapy groups and emotional support groups are available through churches, schools, community organizations, and medical facilities. If these seem too threatening, consider joining a group that shares some interest of yours, such as books, gardening, philosophy, politics, sports, cooking, or coping with heart disease. Social support and emotional intimacy can facilitate tension release and relaxation, but only you can decide what degree and type of relationships are right for you.


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