The importance of connection

  • February 1, 2022

As our focus shifts to Valentine’s Day each February, we’ve decided to celebrate love in all its forms this month. From relationships to friendships and beyond, here are just some of the reasons why companionship and connection matter now more than ever before.

  • Back to basics

    Why does connection matter so much? Well, put simply, it’s how we’ve always thrived and survived as a species. Once upon a time we hunted for food as one, we travelled together in large groups to new homes and far-off destinations and lived our everyday lives within a larger collective. These days, we head to the supermarket, we catch up with friends after work or we celebrate birthdays with those nearest and dearest to us. It’s this human connection that keeps us going. But with the rise of digital connections and the ongoing pandemic, these interactions have moved further online, decreasing our real-life exchanges and increasing our sensation of loneliness. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way.

  • Connecting with those around us

    Whether it’s friends, family or wider members of the community – engaging and connecting with others is just as important for our mental health as it is for our physical wellbeing. Creating connections and building strong relationships with those around us can protect us from depression and anxiety, and also provide us with a stronger sense of belonging and purpose. 

    A 2018 study by the American Cancer Society found social isolation even has the potential to contribute to cognitive decline, sleeping troubles and depression. Social connection however has the ability to boost our mood and help us to better manage all of our emotions, as well as decrease the sensation of loneliness. Sometimes it might be something as simple as a hug from a friend, a quick coffee catch-up with a pal on the weekend or even some time spent outdoors with a family member.

  • Forming strong connections

    It can feel really hard to start new friendships, nurture existing relationships or simply reach out to someone we haven’t spoken to in a while, but in working on this part of our lives, we can build up our emotional and social resilience. This might be as simple as setting aside some dedicated time each week to reach out to the people you care about or scheduling regular chats with those you see during your weekly activities (perhaps it’s your local barista, your neighbours or even the staff at a restaurant you like to visit). Not only will you boost your communication skills, you’ll feel more connected to your surroundings and community. 

  • Connecting beyond your circle

    If you’re looking to establish new friendships or connections with those outside your family and friends circle, or you’re feeling more introverted and don’t want to be overwhelmed while trying to increase your social skills, why not think about joining a local book club or even a sporting group that regularly meets in person? That way you’ll form new connections while bonding over common interests.  You might even consider volunteering for a local not-for-profit organisation, which can be extremely rewarding in its own right, or enrol in a new form of study that has in-person participation. The options are endless, and full of potential.

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