Belonging: A Fundamental Human Need
Human beings have a core sense of, and need for, belonging that is intrinsic and universal, and that transcends culture, religion, race, and location. This fundamental need governs our brains, immune systems, and behavior, and it is a cornerstone of healthy individuals, communities, and societies. Indeed, whereas having a strong sense of belonging can help people feel confident, connected, satisfied, and safe, not belonging can lead to negative thoughts about the self, others, and future, as well as to feelings of isolation, alienation, hopelessness, and distrust that portend the development of maladjustment and emotional issues in addition to serious mental and physical health problems including anxiety, depression, suicide, and disease. Despite the central importance of belonging for human health and behavior, however, increasing belonging is rarely a focus of individuals and organizations. Moreover, we still lack a basic understanding of how belonging affects individuals and how we can use this information to enhance belonging and help individuals realize their best health, wellbeing, and potential.
Our mission is to enhance belonging worldwide by providing scientists, teachers, practitioners, and the general public with information, tools, resources, and opportunities to collaborate, network, and share research and resources related to belonging. By conducting this work, we aim to cultivate a universal understanding that belonging is a fundamental need that should be celebrated and promoted by all people and organizations worldwide.
To accomplish our mission, we engage in activities that seek to:
Foster belonging-related academic interactions and collaborations worldwide
Conduct research on the topics of belonging and belongingness
Create educational and training opportunities for promoting belonging
Engage with organizations, communities, and the public to understand the importance of belonging and how to enhance it
Share and disseminate information on the science and practice of belonging