I am an introvert by nature, though some might puzzle about how an introvert can be so darn loud! I definitely need my alone time to recharge my batteries, but I also know that I am at my best when surrounded by people I love. That’s not surprising; human are wired for connection. However, when my anxiety and depression sneak in, I can find myself turning down invitations, making excuses, ensuring that my world becomes smaller and smaller. I know from my work with individuals living with mental illness, conversations with others who also have challenges with their mental health, and my own personal experience that one of the common threads we share is the tendency to socially isolate when we are unwell. It is for this reason that this wellness pillar is so important to me: NURTURING SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS.
There is significant research into the benefits of social connections. Growing our relationships with others can strengthen the immune system; provide for a longer life; lower levels of anxiety and depression; increase empathy and self-esteem. Additionally, it has been found that social connection is bi-directional: people with strong social relationships are happy and happy people are more likely to acquire friends.
I am truly blessed in my life to have incredible family and friends. During my initial 50 Feats experiment, I purposefully reached out to those around me to join me in some of my adventure; I called these outings “feats with friends” and the value came as much, if not more, from the people as from the activity. From horseback riding with one of my dearest friends to meeting kindred spirits at the Writer’s Circle to simply enjoying a movie with my son, the experience – and my outlook – were enhanced by the presence of others. For those adventures that I embarked on independently, I was thrilled to meet and learn about other participants. While we began the walk downtown, night of music, or cooking class as strangers, we parted ways having shared a laugh, a story or two, and a connection.
As the warmer weather comes teasingly closer each day, why not make a “spring year’s resolution” to reach out and purposely nurture your own social connections, be they old friends or potential pals-to-be. Looking forward to vicariously sharing your experiences with you through social media:
Post a picture, video, or note on the Facebook page: Fabulous Feats.
Tweet out your experience with using: #FabFeats
“We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.” – Brene Brown