Being a part of the community (online communities too!) can help boost your sense of worth. Sometimes being a part of something bigger then yourself can give you a larger goal to work towards. Solidifying your place within your own community can take years, but there are some great ways to get started.
Town hall meetings are a great way to meet the most influential and active members of the community. At school, being active in the PTSA. Also look into local clubs, Masons, Eagles, etc. By being around those who already have roots in the community, you learn more about ongoing important local issues. One cup of coffee with a few folks who have been living in your area for ten or more years will give you more information then the local paper. Not only do you get to increase your standing in the community, make new contacts, you get to have fun!
Shopping local is another great way to meet people. Especially in the non-tourist season, mostly local people shop local. Start a conversation with a fellow shopper or the owner (usually the one behind the counter), this can certainly help you get the feel of the community. The economic value is incredible as well. If you shop at a big chain like Wal-Mart, only about 9% of what you spend stays local, by shopping local you can boost that percentage to 50% plus. Not to mention that the money that is spent at a local shop is usually spent local as well. A dollar spent locally gets re-spent 4-8 times.
I'll end with volunteering. The food bank, the school, the library and the local chamber of commerce almost always need volunteers. Helping others always gives me a boost. I think that if more people were helping other people, we wouldn't need so many anti-depressants. Nothing can snap me out of a funk faster then helping someone in need.
Besides the positive effects on yourself all of these activities can lead to a healthier business for you. People that participate in all these activities show a higher leadership potential and usually have more contacts then those who do not. Good for you, good for your business and good for the community!
Have a Blessed Day,