Social Connection & Health
There’s no doubt that this is a crazy and unprecedented time in our history. Most of us are roughly a week or two into social distancing and it’s quite unclear as to when we’ll be done. As a classic extrovert, isolation is something that can induce a ton of anxiety. This has caused me to reflect on the importance of human connection during this time.
Health Benefits of Social Connection
Human connection has an important impact on our overall health and is a significant stress reducer. Studies show that strong social networks help increase our longevity, lower levels of anxiety and depression, and decrease our stress response. Additionally, a study performed by Steve Cole, Ph.D. and professor at the UCLA college of medicine, shows that genes impacted by social interaction also code for immune function and inflammation. This means that fostering strong social networks and connection can actually help provide a boost to our immune systems.
This is all hugely important information during this time of uncertainty, stress and potential isolation. Making the effort to continue to connect with people and to get creative in doing so can actually help us to lower the feelings of anxiety we are feeling. Furthermore, it provides a boost to our immune systems – which we can all use right now!
Social Connections through Social Distances
In a strange twist, I’ve actually found myself feeling MORE connected to people in my life over the last week. I had virtual coffee dates with friends via FaceTime. Although we text or call often, we never take the time to sit face to face with on a regular day to connect with without distractions. Over the weekend, 10 of my girlfriends and I set up a video call for a virtual happy hour. Typically coordinating all of us together at one time is a challenge, but we were able to quickly put it together. It was the high point of the day for all of us.
We can also reach out and connect in ways that many of us have forgotten about. I sent several hand-written cards to people in my life via the mail (gasp!) in the last week. They are just little notes to say that I’m thinking of them and sending a hug. They are also a great opportunity to practice gratitude and tell people what they mean to you – which has also been proven to be good for your health.
Social Connections and YOUR Health
More than ever, we are steadfast in our mission to help you THRIVE. We hope you find space to pause, reflect with gratitude, and discover creative ways to foster connection with those most important to you.