The Importance of Social Connection
Human beings are social creatures. We thrive on connections with others. Regular positive social interactions and strong social connections benefit us physically and emotionally and can actually lead to a longer life. But nurturing those connections is easier said than done, particularly with the prevalence of remote work and a full load of personal responsibilities. The cold, grey winter months make it even harder to get ourselves out of the house or out of routine. Here’s why it’s worth the effort.
The Benefits of Social Connection
Multiple studies have shown that people with strong social bonds are healthier. The effects are significant and wide-ranging, from helping to maintain a healthy body mass index and decrease the effects of depression, to increasing cancer survival rates, not to mention the simple boost to overall mental health by spending time with people we enjoy. A strong social network can help you recover faster from illness or injury and better deal with stress. So, how do we nurture and strengthen these connections to lead a healthier life?
Nurturing Social Connection
A hub of social connection, a healthy, safe, and resilient community offers support and inclusion to its members. Participating in a neighbourhood, school, church, hobby or interest group can help you feel connected to others. In turn, your involvement strengthens the community itself. Luckily, there are countless small ways to engage with or give back.
BUILD HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
Meaningful and diverse connections with others are central to our emotional wellbeing. Our ties to friends, family, coworkers, and neighbours give us a sense of belonging, and these social networks can provide emotional and practical support and step in when we need help. Offering help to others boosts our health too. Strengthening relationships is an ongoing process but simple interactions can have a big impact.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Building healthy relationships starts with ourselves. The saying ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ is a great image to remind us to nurture our own wellness, especially if we’re taking care of others, or need help ourselves to muster the energy to be social. Self-care is crucial, whatever that may look like for you.
Take a moment to check in on your wellbeing. The more connected we are with ourselves, the more we gain from and give to our connections with others.