Humans are social creatures. We evolved as tribes and maintaining strong ties to the tribe was a necessary survival skill. Estrangement from the people around us today may not post the same immediate risk to our safety, but it’s still a vital part of our mental and physical health.
Longer, Happier Lives
Studies have shown that those with strong ties to their family and friends tend to live longer, but it’s not just about the number of years. The quality of their lives is also much higher than those with few social connections.
Physical and Emotional Support
Fostering and maintaining connections has numerous benefits and the most obvious is probably support. When times get tough, it’s invaluable for us to know that our friends and family have our back. In turn, we can support them when they’re down, which strengthens our bond with them and makes us feel needed and valued in our community.
It’s important to share the good times, too. Sometimes hearing about something good that happened to a friend when we’re suffering can help lift our spirits. We can celebrate with our friend and be reminded that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
It works just as well the other way around. Our joys and success are so much sweeter when we can share them with the people we care about.
Improve Your Mental Well Being
Making connections in all areas of our lives is important, but it’s not a numbers game. Quality matters more than quantity and the kinds of people we choose to spend time with can have a significant impact on our wellbeing.
Most of us enjoy being around positive people because hanging out with them tends to make us feel more positive. The research backs this up, showing that spending time with people with a high rate of mental well being can help improve our own mental well being.
How to Make New Connections
The good news is there are plenty of ways to make connections with those around us. If you have family living in the area, we make a conscious effort to spend some time with them on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be every day, but just a weekly, or even monthly get together can help us keep tabs on each other and maintain a strong, healthy relationship.
Get Together With Friends and Family
Regular get-togethers with friends are also a great idea. Whether it’s a meeting for lunch, coffee, dinner and/or drinks once in a while, we can make sure to spend some quality time with them where you can talk and get caught up.
One-on-one meetings are a great way to build close relationships, but they’re far from our only option. Getting together with a group of friends for game night or movie night is also a great way to socialize and the movie or game can provide conversation topics.
When looking to make new friends and/or expand your social network, there are great ways to do that, both online and off, including volunteering. It helps out local organizations and gives us a chance to spend some time with people who care about the same things we care about.
Get Out There
Meetup.com is another great way to get together with like-minded people in our area. They offer everything from networking groups to book clubs so there’s something for everyone!
Or come to one of my Women.Wine.Wisdom Gatherings or find out how to host your own success WWW gathering. The more the better! http://goo.gl/m6kbWx