5 ways to add more social connection to your life

5 ways to add more social connection to your life

Chris Peterson, one of the most famous and influential Positive Psychologists, once famously said that “other people matter”. In doing so, he was summing up what he considered to be the most important aspect of happiness and living a good life.

Multiple other researchers and studies have also concluded that when it comes to happiness, as well as health and longevity and other key goals, that positive relationships are most important.

So whether you want more happiness or wellness or life success or all, keep reading for some great tips on how to connect more and better with others…

via Psychology Today by Ilene Berns-Zare

Relationships—including brief positive moments of connection—are vital for our emotional and physical health, well-being, and how we experience our lives.

Robust scientific evidence validates the benefits of relationships. According to neuroscientist Julianne Holt-Lunstadt (2015), social connections may be a critical factor for survival. Even the briefest moments of connection can make a positive difference in your life. 

Loneliness and social isolation affect many of us these days. A recent article in the Monitor on Psychology (American Psychological Association, 2019) cites multiple research studies showing that lack of social connection increases health risk in similar ways to obesitysmoking, and lack of physical activity (Novotney, 2019;  Alcaraz, 2019; Holt-Lunstad, 2015).  In fact, a meta-analysis published in Perspectives on Psychological Science (Holt-Lundstad et al., 2015) showed that social isolation and loneliness were two times more harmful than obesity to mental and physical health.

Other people matter

Christopher Peterson, an influential researcher in the field of positive psychology frequently declared “other people matter.” Peterson (2006) is known for his visionary work on the factors that promote human potential and a life well-lived. Relationships are one of those factors. The scientific model of five core pillars for well-being and happiness — PERMA — proposed by Peterson’s pioneering colleague Martin Seligman (2011) outlines positive relationships as a cornerstone for a fulfilling life. Relationships are one of the five core pillars: Positive emotions, Engagement (flow), positive Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishments.

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Fast forward to the work of psychologist Barbara Fredrickson (2013), a leading researcher on emotions and relationships.  Her findings are astounding:

“The new take on love that I want to share with you is this. Love blossoms virtually any time two or more people —even strangers—connect over a shared positive emotion, be it mild or strong” (2013).

Thus, brief moments of connection can offer major benefits. Fredrickson terms this positivity resonance, a concept explaining that when two people share positive emotions—even just momentarily—there is a synchrony between their biochemistry and behaviors, which can result in mutual connection and investment in each other’s well-being (2013). She calls these small positive interactions micro-moments of connection. Fredrickson’s findings show positive emotions and love as essential components of the human survival toolkit, building bonds and creating community. 

In her book, Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, and Become, Fredrickson cites research showing that love actually changes the body’s chemistry. In other words, humans are hard-wired for connection and oneness. For example, moments of love and positivity resonance increase levels of the hormone oxytocin, which influences behavior, social interaction, and levels of calm. Experiencing love and connection can also support vagal tone, helping our body regulate our emotions and deal with life’s stresses…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE