A webpage dedicated to five steps to wellbeing with further information and tips on social connections.
To reap the benefits of social connection, it’s important to invest in them just as you would invest in your business.
Relationships and our social life are active, dynamic parts of our lives and need taking care of – no matter how busy our working life gets. Social connection can provide you with ongoing support and assistance when times get tough and deliver much needed “downtime” from work and other stressful activities.
Social connections can significantly improve your mental health and wellbeing – they buffer the effects of stress, help protect you from depression, and can reduce the severity of mental ill-health symptoms. Researchers have found that people who feel highly connected may live longer1,2.
If you need a boost in feeling connected, try these simple tips to help you initiate positive social connections.
Share good times
Taking the time to connect with family or friends reminds us that we are social beings who need social connection to thrive. This can be as simple as inviting a neighbour over to watch the football, organising a family camping trip, or organising a dedicated night doing something you enjoy with your best mates.
Find someone that you can talk with
It can be really helpful to have at least one person you trust and can talk to about things that matter to you. This could be a family member, friend, or colleague. You might want to share your concerns and worries with only one person, or you may choose to share different parts of your life with different people. There is no right or wrong here. What is important is sharing both the good times and our burdens, rather than trying to cope alone.
Become part of something bigger
Volunteering can help us stay connected with people through activities that also make a difference in the world. It doesn’t have to be big or take up too much of your time and energy. Go Volunteering list opportunities to match your interests.
Find new ways to build connections
There are many opportunities to explore:
- Visit a social networking platform like Meetup to find people with similar interests in your area.
- Join the local gym, sport club, men’s shed or craft group. Doing something you enjoy with people with similar interests can help break down social barriers.
- Check out your local community centre or Eventbrite to find local events or courses you could attend to meet others.
Treat loneliness as a signal to take action
Loneliness is a feeling of sadness or distress about being by yourself or disconnected form the world around you. It’s possible to feel lonely even when you are surrounded by people.
When you start to feel lonely, don’t ignore it. Loneliness is a signal to us that it’s time to connect, like thirst is the signal to drink or hunger the signal to eat.
Lifeline has some more helpful information on loneliness.
Speak to your GP if you are having trouble connecting, they will be able to suggest services to help support you.
1. Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB (2010) Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLoS Med. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316 (last accessed 17 Apr 2020)
2. Psychology Today, ‘Connect to thrive’ (web blog), 26 Aug 2012, https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/feeling-it/201208/connect-thrive (last accessed 17 Apr 2020)
A webpage with more information on relationships and how to improve your social connections.
Baya Voce discusses the simple cure for loneliness and what you can do to start creating more happiness, fulfilment and connection.
Professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad discusses the issues surrounding loneliness, how it affects us and what we as a society can do about it.