We all know the basics of staying healthy; eat your veggies, hydrate, exercise, ensure you get proper rest. But often we forget that social connection is just as vital to health and longevity and it’s important to understand why.
The Global Pandemic has managed to touch everything we took for granted, not in the least part, our inherent human need for connection with other humans. It’s important to be aware of our primal instinct to connect with people and to understand why. Because as far back as history has been recorded, humans have migrated and lived in communities with others. We are social creatures and although we want to be richer, more powerful, or more beautiful – at the heart of those desires is the need to belong, to be accepted, to connect with others.
Good health isn’t just about eating your greens!
Well known author and Professor, Brene Brown, says
“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.”
There are so many health benefits to connecting socially and one of them is the impact it has on our mental health. Connecting with others helps give an overall feeling of self-worth and purpose. It can lower our stress levels, help increase longevity by up to 50%, strengthen our immune system, help us recover from disease faster and decrease our risk of anxiety, isolation, loneliness and depression.
Low social connection has also been linked with an increase in antisocial behaviour, which can lead to further isolation and subsequent loneliness.
Be the friend you want for yourself
One in four people report to have no one in their life they consider to be a close friend, and someone they can confide in. Some people have thirty people they call friends, and yet they still report to not experience genuine connection.
So at the very least be the type of friend you might like to have – and provide the connection you know you would appreciate! Be available, be inclusive, be open minded, be a safe place to fall. Because at the end of the day life is about connections.
“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
Seek quality over quantity
Psychological research has found that most people need to experience two types of connection in their lives to heighten their overall sense of wellbeing and satisfaction. The first is a deep connection between two people. This may occur between two friends, romantic partners, or family members. Focus on quality over quantity, and work to grow and maintain at least one of these relationships for the long term.
The second type of connection is a feeling of belonging to a social group. This may be a group of close friends, a tight-knit group of colleagues, or a religious circle. This group should provide support and guidance in a non-judgmental way, and contain at least a few people with whom you have a lot in common and feel confident asking for help. These groups tend to share common goals and should feel like you are amongst ‘your people’—the people you most identify with outside your immediate family. This kind of connection greatly improves a person’s capacity for satisfaction and fulfilment in their life.
“The most important things in life are the connections you make with others.” – Tom Ford
DISCLAIMER: This document and the information contained herein is provided for general use and informational purposes only. It should not be considered personal advice in relation to legal, financial or healthcare matters. You are encouraged to consult other sources to confirm the information contained in this document, and if appropriate, seek independent expert advice from an appropriately qualified legal practitioner, financial advisor or healthcare professional. Infinite Care Pty Ltd and its related parties do not represent, guarantee or accept any liability whatsoever in respect of the accuracy, currency or completeness of any of the material contained in this document. This document may not be reproduced or published in any way or by any means without our prior written consent.