How to Find a Sense of Belonging for Your Social Well-Being Online


Having an authentic sense of belonging is crucial to your well-being. Feeling like you belong fulfills the human need for connection and acceptance and provides a sense of worth and self-confidence. Belonging also helps form your social identity within a community, which is an important source of self-esteem.

Humans are a social species, yet, thanks to the increasing work-from-home culture and isolated periods that many experience these days, attaining a sense of belonging is a challenge. To help, here are some achievable steps you can take to find a sense of belonging.

1. Identify Your Fears or Any Hidden Trauma

Even though humans are hardwired for connection, some people struggle with the thought of making friends. The idea of “putting yourself out there” can be scary and, for some, there can be ingrained personal reasons behind this fear.

If you struggle with or have anxiety around making connections or friends, it’s worth speaking to a therapist or counselor. There may be hidden trauma, pain, or other reasons behind why you are struggling to find your sense of belonging. A qualified professional can help you work through your anxiety and fears and help set you on the path of creating valuable social connections.

There are now plenty of therapy and counseling apps for mental health support available on both Android and iOS. If you’re after a licensed counselor or therapist from the comfort of your home, then BetterHelp is one of the best options. You can find counselors who specialize in your particular area(s) of need and use search filters to find a professional you will feel comfortable speaking with.

Download: BetterHelp for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

2. Practice Self-Love and Gratitude for Your Confidence

Sometimes struggling to make friends and find your sense of belonging can be linked to your self-worth and confidence. If you have little self-confidence or self-assurance, then it can be difficult to reach out and make an effort to find the people who share your values.

Taking the time (and seriously, don’t rush this!) to practice self-love, gratitude for who you are and what you have, and patience with yourself is key to unlocking your sense of belonging. Using a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) app can help you practice kindness to yourself and boost your confidence.

You can find a range of quality CBT apps designed to improve your mental health, but if you’re looking to build self-confidence, then the ThinkUp app offers the best resources for this. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience researchers reveal that practicing self-affirmations can help establish positive self-perception and restore self-competence if you’re feeling threatened (such as in a new social situation or trying to make friends).

You can use ThinkUp to challenge negative thoughts about yourself and use it as a way to build your self-confidence and improve your wellness. Once you’ve worked on your self-confidence, the next step is to start reaching out for connections.

Download: ThinkUp for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

3. Find Your People by Joining Social Events That Interest You

When you’re feeling brave enough to connect, Meetup is a great tool to use. Accessible on desktop via the Meetup website as well as on the popular mobile app, Meetup offers social gatherings both online and in person.

On Meetup, you can explore available social events that relate to your interests, whether that’s arts and culture, identity and language, general hobbies, travel, or technology, to name a few. Pretty much any subject of interest has a group on Meetup, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can start your own event to attract others who share your interests.

There are many reasons why Meetup is great for meeting new people, from offering new experiences to finding activities that you enjoy. But most importantly, Meetup allows you to connect with people who share your interests and values; these are important factors that allow you to connect socially and develop a sense of belonging.

As belonging is vital for supporting your emotional well-being, using Meetup to find your people can really help break the cycle of loneliness and isolation.

Download: Meetup for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

4. Journal Your Experience, Feelings, and Progress

Journaling is a great way to put catastrophizing thoughts into perspective as well as to record your wins and when you overcome challenges. Using a journaling app is a great way to document your progress and feelings as you reach out and begin to establish a sense of belonging. Journaling can help your journey to a better sense of belonging in a few ways:

  • It can help you to identify, prioritize, and find solutions to your fears and anxieties.
  • Track your feelings to identify any potential triggers that cause you to withdraw from or avoid social situations.
  • Allow you to practice positive affirmations or self-talk to help boost your confidence.

Although most diary apps are text-based, there are audio-journaling apps that you can use to help prioritize your thoughts instead. For a diary that doesn’t require streams of written or spoken words, however, the Daylio app provides a straightforward approach to journaling for your mental health.

You can use Daylio to record your mental health without needing to type, thanks to its easy-to-use check-in features based on emojis. You can opt to track various activities, including social events, making it an ideal tool for your sense of belonging journey.

Download: Daylio for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

5. Nurture Your Existing Relationships

Cherish your relationships for a sense of belonging

While you may be keen to make new friends, widen your social circle, or try new activities, nurturing established relationships is also beneficial to your emotional well-being. Even if your friends or family members don’t share the same passions as you do (for example: if you’re an avid gamer but none of your friends can even turn on a console), it’s important for your sense of belonging to stay connected.

A brief video or phone call via WhatsApp can be enough to boost your self-esteem and serve as a reminder that you do already have a sense of belonging. Trust, respect, and love are all cultivated through close friendships and strong family bonds, so it’s important to look after the relationships you already have.

Chatting with a loved one or close friend can also help pull you out of your own thoughts. By engaging in a conversation with another, you can focus on your friend or family member rather than any persistent negative thoughts you may be experiencing. You can access WhatsApp on your mobile as well as on your desktop to connect in the medium that suits you best.

Download: WhatsApp for Android | iOS (Free)

Find Your Sense of Belonging Online

Thanks to the ever-evolving digital space, there are plenty of tools online that enable you to find your sense of belonging. Remember to identify any sticking points or trauma that may be obstructing your ability to reach out first and use self-help practices to boost your self-esteem. From there, you’re just an app away from finding your community online.


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