When you think of health and wellness, what comes to mind? Broccoli and kale? Lifting weights followed by yoga? Several months without a common cold?
For most of us, Health 101 is usually characterized by eating right, regular exercise, avoiding toxic substances, and getting good sleep. Yet, there is one element of wellness that may be as influential of a factor as the food we eat. Connecting with others.
Our social wellness, or what TeamBetter calls “connecting,” is our ability to relate to, engage with, and feel close to others. Connecting is a fundamental human need, and it feeds aspects of our sense of self and our desire to belong. Just consider the powerful impact and influence of Facebook, the massive online connecting agent designed to bring together individuals, communities, businesses, and the whole of humanity. Chances are, you’ve spent some time searching through your Facebook news feed and posting updates of your life to your 500 closest friends.
Our desire to connect to a social network reflects our need to share feelings and experiences with other, as well as to have a support system in place of our family and friends. Brene Brown, professor and social researcher, said in an interview that people are “biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” There is research that suggests that a lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.
But really, all you need to do is think about your own life to recognize the importance of connecting. Think about the most important relationships in your life, and think about a time when those relationships were strained or m
arked with tension and conflict. How did you feel? How easy was it to move through your day? Our core social group, our friends and family, provide a foundation for our own well being. And so connecting is as important to our overall health and wellness as our nutrition, exercise, and medical health.
- When we foster and promote positive connection in our lives we see many benefits such as:
- A better mood, an increased ability to handle stress, and improved self esteem
- Getting fewer colds and feeling more energetic
- Having people we can openly and honestly confide in
- Feeling like we belong to a group that cares about it
- Having people available to help us through challenges and give us honest feedback on our actions
- Having others who will celebrate good times with you and honor your successes
- People around you who will help you learn, grow, and be your best self.
No matter how strong your social circle, we’re going to say that everyone of us could benefit from strengthening our connections, whether that be deepening our core relationships, or expanding our circle of friends. Maybe it means being more open with someone important in your life. Maybe it means telling someone that you love them. Maybe
it means reaching out to someone you know is in need. Or maybe it’s going to happy hour to celebrate the week’s end. Whatever it is, we encourage you to think about your connections and proactively work to strengthen the connecting dimension in your life.
If you need help, we’re here. Our connecting challenges are designed to help you promote positive relationships.