As humans, we are inherently social creatures. The desire to feel bonded with other people is one of the first emotions we develop as babies; this continues to be true as we age. In fact, one of the longest running research studies shows that the primary driver of happiness is through the depth and connection of the relationships you have in your life, over anything else.
Belonging is the feeling of having a place in the world around us. With each of us having a unique set of characteristics that make up our identity—“where we belong” likely feels different for every person. And because our identities and interests are always growing and evolving, the people and communities we feel the most connected to can change from year to year, or even month to month.
Whether we’re tackling challenges or riding a wave of success, the support of people around us can help us through or propel us to keep thriving. Research shows that developing strong social connections improves our mental health, ability to overcome challenges, and overall happiness. From there, every pursuit becomes just a tiny bit easier.