Social Connectedness

Social Connectedness is something we focused on during Mental Health Awareness Week and there is a very good reason why – without social connectedness we struggle to thrive and can often be left in a state of low mood and depression. Being appropriately connected doesn’t mean we need to be out every evening of the week or constantly surrounded by friends and family but it does meant that we need to invest in our relationships and keep updated in relation to contact with the people we care about most. These meaningful relationships are what support us in times of great challenge but they also make the good times feel even more powerful.

However, social connectedness doesn’t just encompass long term friendships or family relationships. We also get a boost in our sense of social connectedness by striking up simple, friendly conversation with people on public transport or in our local shop. These small acts help us to feel part of something wider and can remind us of the value of conversation and interaction with other people, no matter how brief.  Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs deliberately incorporates a sense of belonging as a core need that motivates human behaviour, along with food, safety and shelter. Therefore these so called small interactions throughout the day that reinforce a sense of belonging add untold value to our wellbeing and cannot be undermined or devalued. Particularly in busy, urban settings we tend to avoid such interaction as we label it ‘awkward’ or ‘unnecessary’ but perhaps now is the time to prioritise social connectedness and much as we prioritise the other basic needs we so effortlessly work towards fulfilling.

If you would like to find out more about Social Connectedness and how to do more to enhance yours, feel free to visit our ‘Practical Ways to Wellbeing’ section on the hub.

Paula Kearney
Head of Wellbeing

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