Have you ever wondered how important social connection is in your life? Did you know that social connection is just as important to keep yourself healthy and happy?
Before moving on to the benefits of social connection and why you need to have this in your life, let’s define it first.
What are social connections?
Social connections are the relationships you have with the people around you. They can be as close as next door or so far away that you only connect with them by telephone or through the Internet.
The more connected you are with other people, the more enriched your life becomes. Of course, it’s not just about the number of connections you have. You should also focus on the quality of these social connections and how they contribute to happiness and positivity in your life.
Quality: The quality of connections you develop with people can make a difference. Avoid connections that violate your personal boundaries. Try to connect with people who could enrich and nourish you.
Quantity: How often you socialize is very important. Try to connect with someone on a more frequent basis. Maybe call a friend for a quick chat during your lunch hour even that brief interaction may make a difference in how you feel.
Why are social connections important?
Feeling socially connected especially in an increasingly isolated world is more connected than ever. The benefits of making social connection shouldn’t be overlooked.
· Make you happier
When you have positive and genuine people in your life, this will make you a happier person. Remaining socially active is good for you as it combats loneliness and negativity. So, instead of spending all of your time in front of screens, give the people in your life a call and share some quality time with them. You’ll definitely feel better afterward.
· Healthier life
Employees with strong social connections are generally healthier. According to Mayo Clinic, “Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI).”
· Decrease risk of suicides
There are a number of factors that put people at higher or lower risk for suicide. Social connections can play a crucial role in protecting a person against suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
· Make you feel better about your life and yourself:
When you have healthy relationships with others, this improves your feeling of self-worth. When people accept you, or show that they genuinely love you, this reinforces your belief that you’re a valuable person. Having genuine social connections also gives you a feeling of security, especially when you belong to a very supportive social network.
· Inspire positivity
Creating a positive work environment will help you feel more comfortable around one another. A positive work environment will also help encourage social interaction and positive communication among colleagues. Employers can help inspire positivity by practicing gratitude and promoting laughter.
· Make you live longer
Since social connections make you healthier, they can also increase your longevity. This applies no matter what age you are and no matter what your gender is. Even in the workplace, maintaining healthy social connections increases your job satisfaction, which, in turn, encourages you to remain in your workplace for years to come.
How can you build social connections?
1. Volunteer: It’s a great way for you to start building a sense of community, which in turn can help you make new friends and connect with others. People who volunteer have reported an increase in overall happiness, improved physical health, greater self-esteem and self-confidence.
2. Explore a new activity: Take a friend and enroll in a painting, photography or cooking class. It can be a good way to meet new people and expand your social group.
3. Join a group: If you enjoy reading or dancing, joining a book club or dance group can be a good way to meet people with similar interests.
If you’re not sure how to begin forming social connections start by looking inward. What are your interests or hobbies? What kind of personalities are you naturally comfortable around? Devote time to becoming active in your community, volunteering, or joining a club or social organization and if you meet a potential friend, create an opportunity to spend time together. Remember that social connections that impact your overall health and well-being may begin with a shared meal, but they require time and effort. Forming strong, healthy connections with others means opening up, actively listening, and being open to sharing what you’re going through. These connections can change the course of your life.