Why Belonging Is Vital to Our Well-Being

I attended my 29th NALP conference in New Orleans last week. There were many great sessions, but there was something I left feeling that was the best part—a sense of belonging!

After two-plus years of dealing with the pandemic, and very few in-person events, being with professionals I share a purpose and history with was truly incredible.

I felt deeply connected meeting up with hundreds of colleagues, placements, and clients, many of whom I consider close friends because we have watched each other’s lives unfold. “How can your daughter be in college already? I remember when she was born.” “Congrats on your promotion to CTO!” These kinds of exchanges, accompanied by hugs, provided a strong sense of belonging.

Did you know that feeling belonging impacts our well-being and longevity? 

When I was studying for my Health Coach certificate with the Institute for Integrated Nutrition, we learned about the Blue Zones. This study found five places on earth where a large number of people live to be over 100 years old. Not only did they live long lives, but they were still thriving!

What this longevity study uncovered was that in addition to eating a mostly plant-based diet and walking four miles each day, they had strong connections to their communities. This sense of belonging was vital to their long lives.

The isolation caused by the pandemic has prevented many of us from experiencing connection to our colleagues, friends and family. Feeling we belong is not just a nice thing, it’s actually a must for our well-being!

As we are about to celebrate Easter/Passover/Spring and are returning to the office more frequently, I commit to spending time with people I share values with and feel a strong sense of belonging to. What will you do to feel a greater sense of belonging in our new world?

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