There is very little that is more important than how connected we feel to others. our relationships are a strong factor in our happiness, mental and physical health, and mind-body connection. From a neurological standpoint, humans are made for social connectedness. Our relationships can give us meaning and happiness.
Studies have shown that in America, every one in four Americans claimed they felt like they had no close friends at all. Loneliness is very common, and can possibly impact your life at some point. There are ways we can combat loneliness and feel a sense of connection to people and our community. But first, a quick refresher.
How Important Is Social Interaction to Our Health?
The health benefits of social interaction are numerous. Studies have connected stronger mental and physical health to relationships between people and social interactions greatly impact your health in positive ways and are essential to improve your mind-body connection.
Tips For Feeling More Connected to People and Community
If you’re feeling disconnected, alone, and separated from your peers, how can you feel more connected? There are many ways to feel more connected in a deeper and more meaningful way. However, connecting with others is more about allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and less about meeting new people. Here are a few tips to help you along.
You should always be your true authentic self. The foundations of any relationship should never be built upon lies and deceit. It's common for people to exaggerate the truth when they desperately want to fit in, but being yourself is how you create genuine connections. Being yourself might make you more vulnerable, but it is the only way to make sure your connections are genuine.
Be Compassionate to Yourself
Everyone has their limits and boundaries, and it doesn’t make you any less of a person because of it. Allow yourself to make mistakes and to put your needs first. Treat yourself how you believe everyone else deserves to be treated.
Move Past Surface Level Conversions
To really be connected with someone, you should know their values, goals, and aspirations. Meaningful connections move past the basics of small talk. Get more insight into who this person is and how you can connect with them on a deeper, more meaningful level.
Invest in relationships where you can be honest with how you feel. Being vulnerable and honest is the best way to see who is truly there for you and cares about your feelings. Not only does being vulnerable help make strong relationships, but it is also a source of joy and creativity. If you are not vulnerable and put your true self out there and take a healthy risk, you will never see how worthy of connection you are.
Source: Maggie Wooll (2022) What Are the Qualities of a Good Friend
Source: Suzanne Degges-White (2015) The 13 Essential Traits of Good Friends