Social connections and relationships are one of the key aspects when it comes to our wellbeing and happiness. We humans are inherently social beings, independent of our culture, age, socio-economic background, or personality traits in terms of being an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert. Our emotions get triggered and influenced by the people we surround ourselves with and we thus feel the direct impact of them on our mood and mental state.
What exactly do we include when talking about social connections? The positive relationships we are having with our friends, family, and romantic partner are just one pillar. The second pillar are the larger networks around us which we interact with like schools, workplaces, clubs for sports or other hobbies, and communities.
Researchers agree that all those social connections from both pillars do positively impact our wellbeing and happiness. Friendships are seen as an instrumental emotional support and thus have a direct influence on our overall life satisfaction. Close friendships tend to boost our resilience and physical health by influencing our health behaviours. In addition, social connections have a positive impact on our cardiovascular, immune, and hormonal responses.
But what is it we can actually do to positively impact our social wellbeing and thus reap the just named benefits? The easy answer is committing to activities like the following:
Contact your friends regularly
Spend quality time with your loved ones
Engage in volunteer work
Take classes for one of your hobbies / interests
Looking into the world of Positive Psychology, the answer to that question becomes a little more detailed and specific. The science highlights possible actions towards increasing your prosocial emotions and your prosocial behaviour. Here are some examples:
- Promote gratitude by acknowledging that someone or something external has benefitted us;
- Ignite compassion by encouraging cooperation and motivation to help and protect someone in need;
- Lean into the feeling of self-compassion by cultivating kindness towards yourself;
- Perform acts of kindness by committing to activities supporting altruism, fairness, frugality, and a positive attitude toward ecosystems;
- Cultivate High-Quality Relationships by looking for that one friend who doesn’t shy away from you and your friendship when things get rough on your end or when circumstances worsen / change, but continuously checks in to connect with you and have as much positive influence as possible.
If you are interested in the other 4 happiness dimensions besides cultivating meaningful social connections, head on over to our Intentional Living page via the link below and check out the pillar of Wellbeing. Happy continuous reading…