Have you ever tried something new and ending up liking it?
After leaving a long -term relationship, I had joined a social running club. I did not enjoy running at that time however I was in transition, feeling lonely and thought it would be a good way for me to meet new people. It wasn’t until I started going regularly that I had the opportunity to meet and build some very close connections with the people I ran with. These people actually became my closest friends who supported me, ran with me when I cried and lifted my spirits as we crossed those finish lines together. These friendships became my social support network that not only increased positive health behaviors, reduced my feelings of loneliness but provided meaningful connections and resilience to a challenging transition in my life.
The reason for sharing this story is to share how having a support network/social connections can not only make you feel good but can also positively impact your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.
Benefits of strong social connections include:
- decreases your stress levels
- improves your mood
- increases positive health behaviors such as exercise
- increases meaningful in-person connections
- reduces feelings of loneliness
- increases coping skills and resilience to stress
- can lower cardiovascular risks and lower your blood pressure
- can increase feelings of wellbeing
Beat loneliness by creating your own support network.
How to? Keep it Simple:
- Connect with a friend, family or make a new friend (call, video chat, text, e-mail, write, etc.)
- Take time to appreciate them and express gratitude to them and share how much they mean to you
- Be there for others when they need support or help.
- Learn to ask for help and communicate your needs
- Be a good listener
- Volunteer-choose a cause that interests you and get involved.
- Join a support group
Your social support system can reduce feelings of loneliness, provide meaningful connections, can make your happier and be good for your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Happy connecting.