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Improve Your Happiness & Wellbeing By Building An Inclusive Community

With Nailah Blades
20 Jun 2021

The desire to feel connection and love is one of the six basic needs that humans require in order to feel fulfilled. We need to feel connected to others, to feel like we’re a part of something, and feel respected & loved for who we are. We’re all searching for that feeling of togetherness that makes us feel good.

We need community in order to be well.

And the more diverse your community, the better. A recent study examined the effects of being more inclusive on eight different aspects of wellbeing: coping, happiness, physical health, decision-making, being valued, talking to others, having meaning in life, and close relationships. All of these aspects of wellbeing were directly related to the level of inclusivity in people’s communities. Being a part of a diverse community creates a richer experience in which we can learn and grow. Diverse and inclusive communities foster creativity & innovation, impact our coping and decision-making skills, and make us feel happier and more valued overall.

I recently had the opportunity to go on a backpacking trip with Angela Hawse, an Eddie Bauer alpine climbing guide, and Jules Jimreivat, our photographer. We spent 3 days exploring the desert, scrambling over boulders and squeezing through slot canyons in Escalante, UT. The landscape was exquisite and we had so much fun enjoying the outdoors, but the thing that made the trip so special was being able to learn and grow with one another. We all come from completely different backgrounds and life experiences, but our approach to outdoor adventure is similar. I was able to walk away with profound memories, and also broader perspectives on everything from backpacking to climbing, philosophy to podcasts.

Most of us can agree that having a diverse personal community is a good thing, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. Here are 3 steps to start building an inclusive community that fosters your overall wellness:

1) Start with intentionality. Be intentional about seeking out experiences and communities that are different from your own. Start with the hobbies or activities you’re already participating in but think about how you can pursue those activities in a different environment or with different people.

2) Commitment is key. Meeting someone once does not a community make. Once you find communities that you’d like to be a part of, make the commitment to be an active, considerate member of it.

3) Stay open & curious. Open-mindedness is the #1 factor in having a more diverse community. Be open to new experiences or environments that put you outside of your comfort zone. Be open to learning new things from new people and stay curious about the knowledge that everyone brings from their own lived experience.

Do you have examples in your own life where your community has impacted your wellness?

Meet The team

NAILAH BLADES

Eddie Bauer One Outside Guide

A marketing consultant and leadership coach, Nailah never thought of herself as an outdoorsy person. But when she found herself dealing with the stresses of building a new business, being a new mother, and living in a new state away from all her family and friends, she and her husband started exploring local trails. It was an epiphany. The outdoors helped her slow down, listen to her heart, and reconnect with her passion.

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