In our world today, we are experiencing record levels of disconnectedness, leading to a huge spike in anxiety and depression. Furthermore, a lack of connection actually impacts our physical health to a significant degree.
According to a 2010 study referenced in this article, those without close community and relational ties demonstrate an “effect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity.”
In other words, if you regularly connect with family, friends, and your community, you’re more likely to be physically healthy, emotionally healthy, and live longer. If you don’t, you’re at an increased risk of physical and emotional health issues and have a harder time recovering when you do. Scary, right?
The good news is, making connections is not as difficult as it may seem, and most of the time is pretty enjoyable. While you can’t create a close, caring network overnight, you can begin to take small steps in that direction.
Start with the people already in your life who you may have fallen out of touch with, or who you haven’t seen recently. Schedule some time to meet up for coffee, to see an exhibit you’re both interested in, or spend some time outdoors together.
If you don’t have healthy relationship opportunities currently in your life, begin by exploring your own interests and you’ll start to meet people who share them. Volunteer opportunities, religious communities, apps like MeetUp and Bumble BFF, intramural sports, adult art classes, and parent groups – these are just a few of the ways you can begin to meet others in your community.
Look for the people who seem open to connecting, and start up conversations. Then, be consistent about showing up, stay off your phone while you’re there, and before you know it, you’ll have a friend worth investing time and energy in.
Written By: Molly Halbrooks