No matter our interests, hobbies, or lifestyles, we all know how important it is to connect with others in our lives. It could be friends, families, colleagues, or neighbors – time spent with others who have a positive influence in our lives brings us joy. But did you know that there are actual health benefits related to connecting with others?
Creating and maintaining genuine connections and relationships is essential to our physical and mental well-being. As humans, we are social animals and crave connection. It increases our happiness, supports better health, and helps us live longer lives. Connection is fundamental to our survival because when we maintain healthy relationships, we feel supported and valued. So, how can we improve our health through connection?
Here are five ways we like to connect with others:
- Reach out regularly.
It’s easy to lose touch with people we don’t interact with on a daily basis. We can work to reconnect or maintain those relationships by scheduling time to reach out regularly. Create a “call calendar” and phone friends or family, schedule a monthly coffee catch up, or send cards to those who live out of state. Just make sure to plan it so that you don’t forget!
- Try new things with old friends.
Are you always doing the same things with the same people? Refresh your relationships by trying something new! Go for a hike, read and discuss the same book, try a new restaurant, pick a new hobby to try together – the possibilities are endless! Trying something new with someone allows you both to get out of your comfort zone and experience each other in new ways, and it just may make your relationship that much stronger.
- Connect from a distance.
Whether you’re in the middle of a pandemic or just live across the country, you can still find ways to connect with loved ones from afar. FaceTime regularly, or schedule virtual events like game nights and birthday parties. You’ll be surprised how connected you can feel with someone who makes the effort to be there for you, even if it’s through a screen and across time zones.
- Make new friends.
Your friends and family are important, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find new connections and relationships that fulfill you in other ways. Find something you’re interested in and take a class or join a group to meet people who are interested in the same thing, or volunteer with an organization that speaks to what you’re passionate about to meet likeminded people. Potential new friends are all around us, we just have to be open to the possibility.
- Ask for help.
Last but certainly not least, ask your friends and family for help when you need it. Whether your mental health is low and you need someone to be there for you, or you need help with tasks like moving or other life changes, your true friends and family will always be there to help. Most importantly, asking for help is never a sign of weakness, but rather a show of your strength.