Waking up and falling asleep with someone when you feel the cuddles coming on; what a comforting thought. Imagine - instead of that “someone” always being about an external body, it’s just…you in cozy glory. We believe that in the right headspace, you love you better. Then, no matter which way you roll over in the covers, you’re wrapped up in an internal and eternal love that gets to be yours forever.
Eventually, we all must leave the sheets and bound into the world to share our precious selves. We can all agree that being human is not always easy; however, having the tools and knowledge to tackle hard things can help to ease our minds.
Leaning into social connections can improve our mental and physical health, work/life balance, and even life expectancy. Let’s talk about this. According to Social Creatures three different dimensions impact how socially connected, bonded, and supported we feel. They are:
- Intimate social connectedness;
- Relational social connectedness; and
- Collective social connectedness.
Let’s dive a little deeper.
Intimate Social Connectedness: perceived nurturing from a close companion who affirms our values as an individual. Think spouse, romantic partner, or anyone with whom we share affection and trust.
Relational Social Connectedness: the perceived presence of friendships or family connections who provide substantial support and mutual aid. These relationships are more casual but can be heavily relied upon.
Collective Social Connectedness: the perceived presence of a meaningful connection with a group of people. Think teams, volunteer groups, schools, and organizations.
There is solace in knowing that we can turn to many different outlets when our cup needs to be filled. Studies show that we typically devote around 40% of our available social time to our five most intimate social connections.
After connecting to ourselves, how can we spread the social connection feelers out to our most special humans? How do they make your life more meaningful? You can truly embrace the idea that social connectedness comes in many forms through a few simple acts. Who are those special people for you?
We have suggestions for how to tap into the social connectedness you need the most.
I love… because…
Take a few minutes to handwrite or text a note to a close companion with a message that goes something like: I love … because… with you thoughtfully filling in those blanks. Taking the time to witness and appreciate a loved one is one way to show them you truly see who they are, beyond their close-up interactions with you.
The wide net that supports you may not be a constant presence, but they are there when you most need them. Gratitude is the feeling you have when you really acknowledge someone else’s voluntary and intentional effort to help you. Take 5 minutes to reflect on one person that fits that description. It’s an internal experience that scientifically helps you feel more connected to your supportive network and changes your physical health. When we are grateful, we are more likely to reach out to engage, as well as support others similarly.
Lean into listening
The communities we spend our time in may include those we consider friends, but for many, these groups are a mish-mash of folks coming together based on location, interest, or need. Regardless, what we may not know is that these groups are just as important to our well-being as our more intimate relationships. Being part of a cause, team, neighborhood, or organization is essential to our sense of belonging to a larger segment of society. Often these settings lend to quick or passing conversations which, for some, can feel lackluster and are experienced as a “have-to” instead of a “want-to”. These can quickly be reframed as opportunities to see new perspectives and even be inspired by people outside your circle. Practically, we suggest that during a one-on-one conversation in a large group setting: Take a 3-second pause after someone speaks, actually counting this in your head, where you get a chance to take in what they said. You may notice that you have questions to ask or comments that wouldn’t have been there in a quick back-and-forth. It’s possible that your conversational partner will mirror you. When people feel heard, the community strengthens and feels better.
As always, we are here for you, too, when and if it serves you. Drop us a line in our email, DM our socials. As a group of women who are constantly striving to mend, rest, and connect on deeper levels - never hesitate to interact with us.