How to be Happier: Get Involved in Your Community

Recent studies show that people who participate in local issues feel better. Give it a try and see if they’re right

Credit: Flickr/rchou

Get involved in the civic process and watch your spirits soar

Get involved in shaping the way roads get built, taxes levied and grass planted and you’ll not only beautify your community, you’ll also increase your emotional well-being

Studies show that if you become active in politics, your life satisfaction increases.

Researchers theorize that having a say in decisions that affect you every day increases your sense of connection to the world outside your door, and hence your happiness.

Be Happier by Getting Involved

It’s all very well to counsel the disaffected to get out there and make their voices heard. For those who’ve never done it, first steps can be scary. Where to go? What to say? How to get anyone to notice?

  • Find an issue you’re passionate about, and one about which you feel you have something to say
Not ready to speak out solo? Join a group with common issues – the motorcycling club, safe streets campaign, end homelessness now action group, or neighbourhood beautification project
  • Attend hearings, city council meetings, committee and board meetings, or public information sessions around your issue
  • Enlist help. Tell your city councillor, MLA, or MP what you want – it’s their job to listen
  • Join e-mail lists so you’ll be notified of ongoing actions

Can’t Get Involved in Person?

  • Sign online petitions
  • Write letters to elected officials, organizations you want to change, and the newspaper
  • Comment on stories on the Web

You don’t have to be an activist to get involved. But by taking an active role in your local community, you’ll feel better about yourself and where you live.