Social Connectivity - why it's essential for happiness

Social connectivity really is vital for day to day happiness. Whilst we often think of ourselves as individuals and self-sufficient, we rely on others to gain a sense of belonging and connection which has been found to be a psychological need for life satisfaction (Pavey et al, 2011).


Connection


Our need for connection and communication begins from birth and continues throughout our entire life and the strength of of attachment is often an indicator of our ability to connect and interact with others later in life (Bowlby,1979). We know that better quality attachments, connections and communications improve feelings of warmth, trust and love whilst reducing stress levels, feelings of unease and anxiety.


Positive attachments and good quality communication with others are essential for happiness so people can trust, become comfortable with intimacy and more likely to remain in stable relationships over time.


Psychology has found that one of the most effective ways to positively improve our happiness levels is to develop new connections with the people around us, as well as reaffirming positive relationships with those we already know (Huppert, 2008; Seligman, 2011).


As said earlier, although we may feel quite individual, we really are social creatures, we often live with others, bond in social situations, share knowledge and ideas with others and most importantly we share moods with those around us. You could say that moods are contagious! We are wired to connect with those around us to help understand their feelings and intentions and how we fit into all of it.


What this means for us is that simply reflecting on feelings of connection – we actually increase our motivation to help others - which in turn helps increases happiness levels, reduces stress levels and improves relationships.


Things you can do


So how does this relate to you, and what can you do next? The main thing to remember, is that by surrounding yourself with positive people, and by reaffirming your relationships with them, you are going to feel better in yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to spend every minute with a bestie, or begin searching social media channels for long lost friends or partner. But it does encourage us all to connect externally, without having an actual ‘need’ for it. That means we connect with others for the joy of connection to increase our happiness and emotional wellbeing.


Get started with this social connection in Activity 1:


What’s great about this exercise is it encourages you to think out with your usual circle, whilst recognising not all connections and interactions are positive – and this doesn’t mean you have to make drastic life changes or cut people from your life. But it does encourage balance.


And it may surprise you to learn that it takes 5 positive interactions to balance out one negative one


In my opinion, it puts things in perspective! But remember, you don’t need to ‘fix’ anything. By focussing on a positive connection with someone important to you, you can effectively balance your mood and happiness through positive interactions.


To help you get started consider Activity 2.


Things to consider

Remember that when it comes to your mood and happiness, there is no quick fix, but that you can take positives steps in your own life. It’s worth remembering, that you will never find the time for these exercises, nor will you find the time for others, but you can make time.


By making time to let someone else know you value them, you are making time for your happiness as well as theirs. Which is also a great way to promote your self care


Love & Light Jennifer x



References


British Journal of Mental Health Nursing: https://www-magonlinelibrary-com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/doi/full/10.12968/bjmh.2020.0007


Bowlby J. The Bowlby-Ainsworth attachment theory. Behav Brain Sci. 1979;2(4):637–638. https://doi-org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/10.1017/S0140525X00064955 CrossrefGoogle Scholar


Breines J. Are some social ties better than others? Greater Good Science Centre. 2014. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/are_some_ties_better_than_others (accessed 13 March 2020) Google Scholar


Huppert F. Psychological wellbeing. Evidence regarding its causes and consequences. State of the science review. SR-X2. UK Government Foresight Project. Mental capacity and wellbeing. London: Government Office of Science; 2008 Google Scholar


Gottman JM. Gottman couple therapy. In: Gurman A (eds). Clinical handbook of couple therapy. New York: Guilford Publications; 2015:129–157 Google Scholar


Seligman M. Flourish. New York: Free Press; 2011 Google Scholar



24 views
  • Facebook Social Icon

© 2020 by Jennifer Falconer