I stand in solidarity with introverts: take me where the people aren’t. Alone is my happy place. Nirvana is the moment I leave the party and you cannot convince me otherwise.
But last week, the U.S. Surgeon General dropped an advisory about social connection that is doing the most to try.
Evidence shows that connection is linked to better heart health, brain health and immunity.
Woah. Bold claim.
Being more socially connected can improve stress responses and minimize the negative health effects of stress.
Okay, I’m listening.
People with strong perceptions of community belongingness are 2.6 times more likely to report good or excellent health than people with a low sense of belongingness.
That’s quite intriguing.
The evidence goes deep and wide to make it clear: social connection not only betters our physical + mental wellbeing but is vital to the health of our communities.
I’ve been got – completely sold on the benefits of connection. So what can I do to up my social IQ + improve my well-being? The advisory lays out some simple suggestions:
1. NURTURE RELATIONSHIPS
Connection is not a one-and-done gesture, but a consistent effort to engage with others! Have a standing phone date with your best Betty or plan a monthly meet-up with friends.
2. MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS
Power down the Netflix and give your phone a break – be present in your conversations + make the most of your time together by letting your people know they have your full attention.
3. SEEK TO SUPPORT
Find opportunities to serve others – whether that’s your own friends and family or volunteer with community service.
4. VALUE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Be responsive to, supportive of, and express gratitude for your relationships! Practicing these behaviors can strengthen social bonds + improve relationship satisfaction.
5. EXPAND YOUR CIRCLE
Variety is the spice of life! And the same goes for your relationships, Betties. Interact with people from different backgrounds to broaden your understanding + deepen your empathy for others.
6. PARTICIPATE IN A GROUP
Whatever your interests – fitness, religious, hobby, professional + community service – there’s a community for you! Connecting with a group can foster a sense of belonging, meaning, and purpose.
7. REMOVE YOUR ROADBLOCKS
Consider this: what practices keep you from connecting with others or lead to feelings of disconnection? Work to cut out these isolating habits.
8. SEEK HELP
If you’re going through a season of loneliness, reach out to your support system. We often think our role in relationships is to always be actively “doing” for others, but a large component of connection is asking for help and allowing your people to support you.
For immediate help, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
9. SHARE WITH YOUR PROVIDER
Remember, Betties, mental health is an integral part of overall health. It’s crucial to maintain open communication with your healthcare provider, especially when significant social changes occur in your life. Whether it’s a stressful relationship, a job transition, or a breakup, these life events can profoundly impact your holistic well-being!
And to all my fellow introverts out there, here’s a gentle reminder: You don’t have to compromise your authentic self to reap the benefits of social connections. By implementing these strategies, you can build and nurture relationships that enrich your life without depleting your precious alone time. Just as prioritizing mental health is essential, PleasurePoint understands the significance of well-being and self-care in fostering a fulfilling life.
Give it a whirl Betties. Opt into the power of connection and tell us how you feel it’s improving your whole-self health.