Socially Connected

Two is better than one. Being socially connected makes a big difference to your health and it is the quality of those connections that make a difference. We are created to be social beings and live in a community!

Did you know?


Both social isolation and loneliness increase mortality, regardless of whether the person has any health problems or doesn’t feel lonely (Demakakos et al. 2012).

The Facts:


The World Happiness Index considers factors such as life expectancy, generosity, freedom, corruption, and social support when determining global and individual country happiness (Helliwell et al. 2019).

  • Inequality has been a big factor that has caused a decrease in global happiness since 2007.
  • Developed and wealthier nations like the US, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia are not featured in the top 10 happiest countries.
  • Having a social community around you helps decrease the negative side effects of worry, sadness and anger.

Loneliness is a growing issue that is continually increasing across the globe (Schulze 2018). But is significantly greater in societies and age groups where social media usage is the highest (Schulze 2018, No Isolation 2017).


Since 2009, adolescents’ communication via social media has increased, while face-to-face interaction has decreased (Helliwell et al. 2019). The more time they spent on social media, the more likely they are to be unhappy or depressed.

What can we do about it?


Build community with people that are positive and uplifting.

  • You can also strengthen your existing relationships by loving and, if needs be, forgiving those nearest to you and/or find new friends who are positively oriented with a like-minded community such as a sporting club or church group.

Volunteer to create more opportunities to be social (Musick & Wilson)


Perform 5 acts of kindness to others per week (Lyubominsky et al. 2005; Nelson et al. 2016).


Smile and talk positively – these are infectious and draw others to you.


Be exposed to nature – it may boost kindness to others (Piff et al. 2015).


Learn to communicated effectively by being an active listener, expressing you thoughts, feelings and wants, using non-confrontational body language.


Learn skills to manage situations where conflict arises when your interests, needs, goals or values interfere with those of someone else.


Learn to appreciate your own culture as well as other cultures.

Summary:

Make spending time with family or friends a priority.

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Dr. Lillian KentPhD, MAE, MPH, BSc (Hons), FASLM
Author
Dr Lillian Kent graduated from Melbourne University with degrees in Microbiology and Biochemistry, Deakin University with PhD and Master in Public Health, and The Australian National University with a Masters in Applied Epidemiology. She is a senior research fellow in the Lifestyle Research Centre at Avondale College of Higher Education, a Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine, and a Registered Public Health Nutritionist with the Australian Society of Nutrition. Her research interests focus on the relationship between lifestyle and the prevention, treatment and reversal of chronic disease, particularly in LMICs.