“Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” ~ Brene Brown
Social connection is associated with numerous physical and mental health outcomes as well as longevity and health-span overall (Lutz, 2021) (Holt-Lunstad, 2022). Lack of social connection is associated with premature mortality and diminished well-being of older adults (Suragarn et al., 2021). It serves as a critical public health role and one that has suffered over the last few years due to the pandemic.
Humans are fundamentally a social species and connection is vital for development and survival (Holt-Lunstad, 2022). Social connection is an important pillar found in every Blue Zone (areas in the world with the highest population of centenarians).
Lock, Churra, & Barracka, 2017 reported that maintaining positive social connection not only increases one’s perceived sense of wellbeing and quality of life but also their brain health overall.
As we age, it is common for our social networks to change and often grow smaller. Maintaining close, positive relationships where we feel valued and engaged is critical. Physical contact like hand holding and hugging has been found to reduce levels of stress by reducing cortisol and increasing oxytocin (Lock, Churra, & Barracka, 2017).
Neighbourhood/community social cohesion adds another layer of social support found in literature to be important (Lock, Churra, & Barracka, 2017). It can be described as a perceived degree of connection and belonging among neighbours or a community with an increased willingness to intervene for the common good.
Let's make sure we are connected with a positive community and take care of those around us. Our health and wellbeing depends on it.