09 Sep Social connectedness is key to health and happiness; find out why AND how you can have more of it.
via The Conversation by Alexander Saeri et al
It’s well established that people who feel socially isolated, or as though they don’t belong, have worse mental health than those who feel socially connected. But in a study recently published in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, we’ve shown that increasing your level of social connection can protect your future mental health.
Previous research has found “social connectedness” is at least as good for your health as quitting smoking or exercise. It aids recovery from physical and mental illness, and provides resilience for stressful life events and transitions. So what is social connectedness, and how can we get more of it?
What is social connectedness?
Social connectedness isn’t about being popular, or having a lot of friends. Although it can come from the personal relationships you have with other individuals, research finds it’s belonging to groups that’s most important for your health.
When we feel we truly belong to a group – like being part of “the Marsh family” or “us Stanley Street residents” – we benefit from both the bonds we share with other group members, and how belonging to that group tells us something about who we are.
Social connectedness is crucial to physical and mental health. A 2010 review of 148 studies found that people who felt less socially connected had more risk of early death than those who smoked, drank or were obese.
Therapeutic programs that focus on building social connectedness are effective in treating depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. But improving someone’s social connectedness can also support and protect the health of people in their everyday lives.
For example, people who make new social group connections are less likely to develop depression. And people who maintain and build their social group connections have greater well-being during the transition to retirement or university.
…keep reading the full & original article HERE