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Connection and Better Wellbeing

Connection and Better Wellbeing – Good relationships are considered very important for your mental wellbeing. They provide emotional support and in turn allow you to give support to others, they offer the opportunity to share experiences and build a sense of belonging and self-worth.

The connections being referred to here can range from small daily interactions with the postman, shop assistant or someone you see every day on the train, to deep and meaningful relationships with friends or family. The small connections are just as important in feeding into our sense of belonging to a community and combatting loneliness.

According to the Marmalade Trust many studies have been done to consider the impact of loneliness on our mental and physical health.

Loneliness has been linked to early deaths and an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, depression, cognitive decline and poor sleep. It’s as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. People who feel lonely are more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s (and other forms of dementia) than those who do not feel lonely.

It would seem clear then, that connecting with others is imperative for our mental and physical health. If you are someone who is naturally shy or finds conversing with people difficult start off small. Here are some first step ideas:

  • If people look at you as you are walking by, smile and say hello. You could always also mention the weather. If people have dogs they are often a great conversation starter.
  • When you are in the supermarket or local shop try to strike up a conversation, it can be as easy as saying “it’s quiet in here today / it’s busy in here today”
  • Try to exchange a few words with the postman / delivery driver. Even if its “thank you, have a great day!”
  • If you are a regular on public transport it is likely that you will see the same faces every day, if they are friendly, say hi and try and spark up a conversation.

The aim is not to form long standing friendships but to practice connecting with others and experience how that creates a sense of belonging. When COVID happened and we went into lockdown, many of the small social interactions we used to experience, meeting colleagues in the corridor, chatting to someone as we came out of the toilet, stopping to speak to a receptionist, all stopped. Many of us now work from home and so those easy effortless communications no longer happen, if we want to reinstate them they will take effort and intention. It was my experience that those small exchanges throughout the day were very important to breaking the day up and giving small respites between work.

If you feel that you are ready for more connection and building deeper relationships. Consider the following ideas:

  • Volunteer, this is a great way to meet likeminded people and form friendships.
  • Join a club or take up a new activity that will involve being with people
  • If you are religious, try to attend your place of worship more often
  • Commit to arranging more time with people you love and enjoy spending time with, it might be a night out, a coffee at home, or a walk.
  • It maybe that getting out of the house is difficult, particularly if you have a disability. If you can, ask people to visit you at home, or connect online over an online platform.

Increasing your connections in everyday life is an essential step in keeping yourself mentally and physically healthy. If you are struggling with this you might find speaking to a therapist helpful. Paul offers Psychotherapy and counselling, EMDR and Clinical Supervision. If you are struggling with any issue and would like to make an appointment with Paul please call Paul on 07843 813 537 or fill in the form on the Contact Page, if he doesn’t answer he is probably in a session, please leave him a message and he will call you back as soon as he can. For more information about Paul please take a look at the About Paul PageFrequently Asked Questions Page and The Counselling Services Page.

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