A Simple Formula for Health and Happiness
By Georgina Preston
What is the key to a healthy, happy, sustainable Kingston?
This is a complicated question with many different answers, but one that has its root in the people that make up this great City. It is the people of Kingston, when inspired and impassioned by their experiences and external environment, that make this City what it is.
Kingston is very fortunate to be home to many different traditions, events, organizations and businesses that seek to make the lives of the people who live here better. While there is no end to the possibility of further innovation in those departments, Kingston definitely does well in providing its community members the opportunity to engage in fun activities that promote personal growth. This blog piece is not about what is missing from the City, but instead, tries to briefly discuss the benefits that engaging with one’s community can bring to the individual Kingstonian.
My mother used to say that the key to happiness was stepping outside of yourself and engaging with the world around you. An article by Leila Mazhari of the University of Victoria called The Pursuit of Happiness: The Effect of Social Involvement on Life Satisfaction in Canada talks about this very concept. It discusses the fact that many studies have shown that social involvement has a significant positive effect on Canadians’ life satisfaction. While Mazhari’s article is interesting and shows a correlation between an involvement in one’s community and life satisfaction in an individual, there is much more to consider. In order to make a community function, the people within it must be driven and willing to work outside of themselves. It is, therefore, logical to conclude that the happiness and engagement of community members is directly correlated to the health of our community. For instance, a beautiful natural park in a neighbourhood could connect an individual, in youth or adulthood, to nature and wildlife. This connection has the potential to inspire said individual to pursue biology, an outdoors lifestyle, or encourage them to care for their environment. Through this inspiration, these people will have more purpose and satisfaction, which in turn can motivate them to make their community a better place! Happy, inspired people make for healthy, dynamic communities, and so on and so forth in a cyclical manner.
So what can you get from YOUR Kingston? Farmer’s markets, fundraisers, festivals, local organizations that promote sustainable living, etc., all have the ability to change a person’s outlook on life, drive their passions and help them grow. Again, Kingston is wealthy in these areas and has much to offer. It is important to get out and experience your environment because you never know what kind of difference it could make in your life. This could be anything from volunteering, to attending events, going for a stroll down the streets, visiting your local conservation area, to simply taking the time to relate to another living being. So try new things, take an interest in the world around you, and always allow yourself to be impassioned by the incredible things your corner of the planet has to offer. You never know how these activities will benefit your personal life, as well as the health and livability of your community.
Mazhari, L. (2015). The Pursuit of Happiness: The Effect of Social Involvement on Life Satisfaction in Canada. The Arbutus Review,6(1), 76-100. doi:10.18357/ar.mazharil.612015
Georgina is going into her fourth year of Environmental Science at Queen's University. In the past she has worked as intern at Sustainable Kingston and loved every minute of it. Georgina is passionate about nature and is currently a Gate Attendant at Frontenac Provincial Park, while residing in Kingston for the Summer.