Research shows that maintaining strong social bonds increases life expectancy by reducing health risks throughout a person’s life. Having a social network of supportive relationships also contributes to psychological well-being. Here’s how you can benefit from these relationships:
Sense of belonging. Spending time with people helps ward off loneliness. Whether it’s other new parents, dog lovers, fishing buddies or siblings, just knowing you’re not alone can go a long way toward coping with stress.
Increased sense of self-worth. Having people who call you a friend reinforces the idea that you’re a good person to be around.
Feeling of security. Your social network gives you access to information, advice, guidance and other types of assistance should you need them. It’s comforting to know that you have people you can turn to in a time of need.
Given the pleasures and benefits of social ties, take opportunities to expand your social circle and deepen the ties you’ve already made.
Here are 4 ways to strengthen your social bonds:
- Explore volunteer opportunities, from wielding tools to help spruce up affordable housing to mentoring a child or businessperson.
- Embrace technology. Email, texting, and tweeting can help you connect with old friends or find new work opportunities.
- Find like-minded people through intriguing classes and organizations.
- Religion offers enormous support to many people around the world. If that’s true for you, join in on services that suit your faith.