When Shefali Sahay, a graphic designer and consultant, moved into her 2 BHK apartment in a residential complex from her small independent flat, little did she know that the whole experience would change her for the better.
â€śAfter the horror of sharing a flat with 10 girls during my college years, it had kind of turned me into a loner. I had made it a point to live alone in an independent house with few neighbours around, and get on with my life,â€ť she says. â€śBut since shifting to my housing complex, Iâ€™ve realised that community living has turned me into a more communicative and socially-driven person.â€ť
â€śBut I also realise that reason this has worked out well for me is because of the like-minded people Iâ€™m surrounded with.â€ť
Our homes are more than just a roof over our heads. Beyond being physical structures providing shelter, they are spaces where we raise our families, bond with friends, and make social interactions. Itâ€™s no secret then, that our homes have a significant impact on our health and happiness. And naturally, the type of housing we choose reflects our quality of living.
Housing complexes offer a combination of comfort, convenience, and community, which are attractive features for homeowners. But, the experiences of shared living that this housing option provides can go one step further in contributing to the residentâ€™s mental health in many ways.
What are these Mental Health Benefits?
There are many projects, TED talks, and studies that are looking at the benefits that community living options provide. Letâ€™s talk about the most prominent ones.
- Most apartment complexes are well-designed homes with landscaped gardens and outdoor spaces, which uplift the mood and have therapeutic effects on an individual. Studies have shown how people living in aesthetically pleasing environments tend to have better mental health. Plus, the greenery helps to elevate the mental well-being of residents.
- The variety of common spaces in these apartments encourage social engagement and everyday interactions. With demanding jobs leaving people with less time and options to socialize, this can be a huge benefit. The parity in social outlook, lifestyle and circumstances ensure a sense of healthy respect all around. The everyday familiarity evokes a sense of camaraderie, an automatic gain in social capital.
According to the 2018 report of Happiness Research InstituteÂ (HRI), social support, freedom, and trust are some of the key contributors towards happiness. The intentional friendships and engagement in community living spaces thus have a huge impact on the mental health of dwellers.
- Quality and stable housing are necessary for maintaining good mental health. The absence of basic facilities, lack of security measures, unscrupulous landlords dangling eviction threats, can add up to serious stress on the part of an individual. Apartment complexes, with their range of amenities and proper management of living conditions, create a sense of calm that aids in relieving the mind of undue pressures.
- In community living spaces, frequent interactions lead to friendships. The support network resulting in this way lets people trust each other, seek help and advice when required. This addresses an important mental need in us as social beings.
The Major Pros of Living in a Residential Complex
While the debate of residential complexes vs. standalone flats or independent homes tips in the favour of complexes for multiple reasons, thereâ€™s one benefit that particularly stands out when weâ€™re talking of mental health. That is the enhanced possibilities of social interaction.
Equipped with features like clubhouses, community halls, and parks, apartment complexes allow ample opportunities for people to meet one another and develop healthy interactive relationships. The ability to share activities like workouts, indoor games, and simply hanging out with like-minded fellow residents enhances the probability of creating life-long connections.
Within these communities, various festivals, functions, and events are celebrated collectively, while thereâ€™s something to fulfil the social needs of every age group. The kids can mingle and make friends with one another in the play area, the young adults can chill out at the recreational zone, game room, or gym, and the seniors can spend time in the park or garden. Add to that the benefits of a positive urban neighbourhood thatâ€™s safe, secure, and well-connected.
Clearly, all these factors add to the contentment levels of an individual living in aÂ residential complex. The pressure and stress in our work and responsibilities tend to fluctuate. However, at the end of the day, we come home to unwind. A welcoming atmosphere at home is, therefore, of singular importance. This ease of living contributes to the mental well-being of apartment dwellers.
Community Living is an Opportunity for Personal Growth
AÂ residential complex can improve the mental health of dwellers by fostering a sense of community. And in doing so, they provide personal growth opportunities to dwellers through a widening of outlook, knowledge gain, and networking circles. A sense of self-worth also emerges as the modern corporate isolation isnâ€™t allowed to grow.
Many people like Shefali have discovered that co-living is the apt use of architectural and spatial design for creating accommodations where peaceful and meaningful lives can coexist.