Maintaining a Healthy Social Life: How to Strengthen Personal Relationships and Reap the Benefits

Habit 7: Connect from The “Habits for Well-Being” Series

This is currently my most out-of-balance area in life. Being a self-confessed workaholic used to make “Body & Mind” in the most need of focus but I have since found a good routine and momentum to both exercise daily and take the needed breaks to refresh my mind. This one, however, is tough.

We are all so busy that aligning schedules and the energy to get together feels like it needs planned months in advance and then something always pops up derailing those plans. We have to find a way to ensure connecting with family and friends as well as making new connections is a priority for not only our but also our loved one’s well-being.

The Benefits of Connecting with Others

Staying connected and in touch with family, friends, and other contacts is essential for personal growth and development. From strengthening our existing relationships to expanding our networks, the advantages of connecting with others are numerous.

The key is to prioritize relationships and make sure you are investing enough time, energy, and effort into maintaining them.

By doing so, you will be able to reap the rewards of having strong connections with people both near and far such as:

  • Accessing resources to gaining knowledge and experiences that can help you succeed in life. You can learn something from just about anyone even if it’s what NOT to do!
  • Seek help in times of need. Even if it’s simply reaching out to discuss life’s challenges.
  • Stay informed, and up-to-date on topics of interest. Who else are you going to discuss and possibly debate them with? Trolling or being trolled on social media doesn’t count!
  • Build a healthy sense of belonging and community. And this is coming from an INTJ, heavy on the “I” who can tend to be a bit of a “loner.” We are social beings at varying levels. Our mental well-being needs those connections.
  • Emotional support and security. Feeling and knowing that you are a part of something larger than yourself can ward off depression and foster a positive attitude in challenging times.

Without regular contact and meaningful conversations, relationships can become weak, unhealthy, and unproductive. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and even depression in some cases. Moreover, not connecting with the right people could mean missing out on important opportunities that may be beneficial in the long run. It is the best way to create your own LUCK which is an often overlooked element of success and well-being.

Nurturing Existing and Forming New Relationships

Keeping existing relationships strong is just as important as forming new ones. The key and the hardest part is making this a priority. Life has a tendency to get in the way. If you take your relationships for granted they can easily disappear and you will find yourself out on an island. If you think about it, it’s really not that hard.

Ideas to Nurture Existing Connections

  • Schedule a date night every week to stay connected with your significant other. Start with every other week if you must. Put it in your calendar and treat it like that meeting with your boss you won’t consider canceling or moving. Let’s be honest – it probably is a meeting with your real “boss.” 🙂
  • Plan a game night, potluck, wine tasting, or a simple night on the town with family and friends. Rotate locations weekly or every other week if there is some distance between you.
  • Reach out via text, email, online, or even “old school” letters to stay connected.
  • Take part in shared hobbies together or learn a new hobby together.
  • Plan joint trips and make memories while exploring new places.
  • Reconnect with old acquaintances.
  • Get creative! Create weekly challenges on healthy activities and share your successes and hurdles…the possibilities are endless!

Ideas to Form New Relationships

  • Attend local events or join clubs and organizations. I may challenge myself to do this one. Remember, heavy “I” here who can find a million excuses around time available NOT to do it. If I really think about it – it’s simply out of my comfort zone which means it would probably have great value.
  • Join a networking group or virtual community.
  • Take an online class and make new connections with classmates. I made some great connections through Seth Godin’s altMBA but to be honest – those connections have slipped away. Time to reconnect.
  • Volunteer for social causes and meet like-minded people. This can also help you keep your “Finances & Giving” in balance by giving your time. Two for one!
  • Participate in professional forums & discussions related to your field of interest
  • Connect with professionals on LinkedIn who have similar career paths as you do.
  • Talk to your neighbor. They are right next door! Do you even know their name? I recently connected with my neighbor where previously our connection was nothing more than simple pleasantries. We both recently had many trees removed from our yards and started discussing ways we could tackle the impacts together. It was a great discussion that lead to a few more beers than expected and some personal sharing. As I stumbled a bit back home it was apparent how valuable new connections can be. I am confident our new connection will be mutually beneficial. It’s already paying dividends.
  • Re-connect with old acquaintances. (Yes, I said it twice! It’s obviously on my mind)
  • (Shameless self-serving idea) Like, comment, and share this post. Then send me a message or an email. I would love to make your acquaintance or reconnect.

The Dark Side of Disconnection: What Happens When You Don’t Stay Connected?

When we don’t stay connected with others, the consequences can be dire. A lack of social connection has been linked to a wide range of physical and mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and even suicide. Loneliness is also associated with poorer overall well-being and higher mortality rates. In addition to these direct effects on our mental health, disconnection from others can lead to lower self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness as well as increased stress levels due to feeling isolated or unsupported in difficult times. Research shows that social support plays an important role in helping us cope with life’s challenges more effectively so it’s essential for our long-term happiness and success.

The Power of Connections: Don’t Underestimate the Benefits of Staying in Touch!

Having strong relationships with people both near and far is essential for our well-being and growth as individuals. By staying connected, we are able to remain informed, access resources, gain knowledge and experiences that can help us succeed, and generally improve our lives.

Having a sense of belonging and community is important because it provides emotional support and security, increases individual self-esteem, helps build relationships and develop trust, fosters an appreciation for diversity among people, encourages cooperation between members of different groups, and promotes a feeling of being part of something larger than oneself. Ultimately, it creates a strong foundation for fostering meaningful connections that can last a lifetime.

Connecting with others can be challenging, but the effort is always worth it in the end.

Hey, Let’s Connect!

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