How to Connect with Others to Boost Mental Well-being
Humans are social creatures. It was a matter of life and death to live, hunt and work in groups in our earliest days. But the necessity of connection is as crucial today to both physical and mental health.
The Importance of Connection
According to various studies, social connections are key in improving longevity rates, quality of life and reducing the risks of multiple diseases. Research has shown that having an emotional support system is more important than smoking cessation, obesity and high blood pressure to improving health. Additionally, social connection curbs depression, anxiety and the risk of suicide.
Simple Ways to Strengthen Connections
Whether you live alone or are physically isolated, you can still make your connections to others stronger. Here are some ideas:
- Make a schedule! Don’t let your contacts grow stale. Have an old friend you haven’t talked to in a while? Make a point of scheduling times to touch base.
- Take time out regularly to express thankfulness to those in your life who have impacted you positively. It can be as simple as a text specifying how they’ve helped you or as elaborate as a letter (snail or email-type).
- Cut ties with those who hamper your sense of well-being or undercut your stability. Sometimes you don’t have better connections because negative and destructive ones take up your time and energy.
- Learn and practice listening skills. By being a better listener, you can nurture better relationships with others, benefitting you both.
Ways to Make New Connections
It can be hard as an adult to make new friends. However, it is a skill like any other, which means learning by practice and perseverance. Here are some ideas to help you start.
- Make a list of your interests and hobbies and find groups or activities you can join based on those. It doesn’t have to mean physically going places, either. Plenty of online groups exist for virtually any hobby imaginable.
- Enroll in a class. It can be something that will boost your career skills, a course on genealogy, or a class on photography. Whatever piques your interest and helps you find others with similar hobbies is a good start.
- Join a book club through your library or another group in your community.
- Want to improve your fitness and health? Join a gym or an online fitness group to support one another in your shared goals.
However you choose to start, just refuse to live in isolation and instead connect with others and improve your life and health!