From fad diets to intense exercise regimes, we spend a lot of time focusing on being our best physical selves. And while physical health is strongly linked with mental health, there’s one thing that many of us forget to exercise – our social life.
Recent studies have shown that as a society, we’re feeling awfully lonely lately. Ironically, devices have connected us more than ever—but perhaps not in the right way. The screens that surround us actually disconnect us from reality, distancing us from our loved ones, ourselves and from nature. The fact is, we need face to face interaction to connect.
Why is human connection so important for our mental health?
The science behind it all suggests that a lack of regular human connection can be more harmful to our health than physical conditions like obesity, high blood pressure and even smoking.
In our busy metropolitan lives, it’s difficult to juggle time between a fulltime job, family commitments, chores, self-care and hobbies. At the end of the day, social activity is the easiest of our priorities to push to the back burner.
Although it’s a challenge, it is critical to set time aside to enrich our social lives. As a species, we are social creatures by nature. Connecting face to face with other humans can help to reduce anxiety and depression, improve the way we feel about ourselves and even contribute to a healthy immune system.
How to connect with other people
You know it’s important to connect with other people, but where do you start? Maybe you’re a shy person, or you just moved to a new city. Perhaps you’re introverted or you just can’t find the time.
Here are a few simple tips to help you to connect:
Find ways to make other priorities a social activity – If getting in your daily workout is super important to you, try joining a recreation sports league so you can exercise with a team a few times per week.
Set the time aside – If you work social time into your weekly routine, you are more likely to stay committed to it. Perhaps you reserve Thursday evenings for time with friends and enjoy the specials at your favourite local restaurant.
Get social at work – Have you made it a habit of eating your lunch at your desk? Instead, try eating in a communal space where you can rest your mind while catching up with coworkers.
Reach out to old friends – If you’ve lost touch with a friend, give them a call. Who knows – maybe they’re in need of some social connection too.
If you’re feeling lonely and don’t know where to start, Your Counselling is here to talk. Together, we can develop strategies to help improve your social connections and get started living a happy, healthy life today. Call us for a Free Consultation and book your first appointment.