If there is one thing that the COVID pandemic reiterated to most people it is the importance of connection. Connecting with others helps energize us, reminds us that we are not alone and makes us feel content in our day to day life. Spending time building connections with others is a fundamental human need and improves our overall health and well-being. Human connection can be defined as “the sense of closeness and belongingness a person can experience when having supportive relationships with those around them.” When we form genuine connections we feel valued, seen and heard.
The benefits of social connections extend far into all areas of life including boosting mood, reducing stress and improving self-esteem. Connecting with others also improves the overall quality of our life and increases our fulfillment. When we connect with friends or family we experience positive feelings and when we express these emotions our brains release dopamine and endorphins which improve our mood and happiness.
Creating new connections involves engaging in conversations with new people, joining groups, volunteering and maintaining an openness and interest in others. Ultimately, to create new connections we have to act and make plans with those around us. For some creating these connections comes easily, while others struggle to connect with others so the way we choose to interact with others will vary from one person to the next. If you are looking to make deeper social connections in your life consider volunteering at a non-profit organization of joining a group like a book club or group fitness class. This can expose you to other people who share interests with you as well.
You can also consider the connections that you have each day with individuals you don’t know. Think about the grocery store checkout or the barista making your coffee. Consider your coworkers, the customers you interact with or the people you pass walking down the street. There are so many opportunities to connect with people around you and these opportunities may come in short moments or longer conversations.
For some social connection comes easy for others they may have to push through the barriers around social interaction, but there is no denying the fact that there is health benefits to social connection and that humans thrive when they connect with those around them regularly.