Create social connections for mental wellbeing
Belonging and connecting with others has a significant impact on our health and happiness. At Studio Rubix, we look at each side of the Rubik’s cube as representing different elements of wellness; physical fitness, nutrition and energy, mental health, and social connectedness is one of these.
Scientists started tracking Harvard students in 1938 during the Great Depression and over the following 80 years and subsequent studies on participants physical and mental health deduce that “our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health”.
3 key lessons from the studies indicate:
1) social connections make us happier
2) close relationships protect our brains
3) quality relationships, rather than quantity, matter most
What are your social circles? Are they supportive and motivating? Are they helping you live a more positive life? Or are they sucking energy, negative and leaving you worse off than if you didn’t belong? We should not feel lonely in our relationships, they should not be negative or they are damaging our health. It is a well-accepted fact that loneliness kills. So take a look at your connections and weed out the good from the bad.
Quality not quantity is the key when it comes to creating social connections. We don’t need to belong to every group under the sun or connect with all our “old school friends” just to feel social. Have a think about what connections are important, that gives you energy, that makes you smile and happy. I’m a strong believer that if a relationship sucks the energy out of you, it’s time to cut the rope.
My grandmother used to say, friends for a season, friends for a reason, friends for life.
Some ideas for you to increase your social connectedness:
- Get off social media and actually write some letters/postcards to friends
- Join a group e.g. book club, wine club, fitness group, music group, upholstery…
- Attend a one-off event e.g. cooking class, fundraiser, sporting event, a concert with like-minded people
- Volunteer. Options are limitless e.g. refugee program, meals on wheels, sporting events
- Sit around the table with friends and family to eat. Talk. No phones. Connect…and laugh.