Social connections and relationships affect our physical, mental and emotional health. In fact, healthy social connections are the single most important predictor of our happiness. Health-related measures like heart rate and blood pressure improve even with short, positive social interactions. Here are some ideas to help you develop and enhance the social networks in your life:
- Adopt a pet or help at a local animal shelter to connect with other animal lovers.
- Find groups of people online or in the community who share your interests.
- Go to a local sports event, music performance, lecture or art display.
- Help organize community events by joining a steering committee or board.
- Join a spiritual or religious group.
- Reach out to community resources for volunteer options.
- Seek out opportunities to increase social connections at work.
- Take classes at your local library or college.
NOTE: While technology can sometimes improve social contacts, research finds that those using social media the most are at the most significant risk for depression. Be careful about using technology too much to support social connections.
Strengthen Your Relationships
Remember, building and maintaining healthy relationships takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and others, and don't be discouraged if it takes time to find your tribe. With persistence and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone, you can develop a robust support system and enjoy meaningful social benefits.
- Be excited about what others are doing in their lives.
- Be positive while connecting with others.
- Be present for those who need you.
- Share your experiences with others.
- Spend time with other people.
Our team will discuss strategies with you for setting better boundaries within your support team and coach you about adapting to change that's in and out of your control. They can also suggest ideas about how you can be more involved in the community, whether volunteering or joining different organizations, and will help facilitate your interactions locally. They will advise who could be on your support team as well.