SOCIAL CONNECTIONS SCIENCE
Happy Easter Sunday! Whether we celebrate Easter or not, today would normally be a day of getting together with friends or family, enjoying a leisurely lunch and those with kids, organising a chocolate egg treasure hunt. This year, in lock-down, we will have to settle with a virtual gathering or find ways to make the day feel memorable and different with our immediate loved ones. So, why are social connections so important to us?
Neuroscientists and psychologists agree that social connections are as important to our survival, evolution and happiness, as the need for food, safety and shelter because:
· We get emotional support from others
· We learn through others – new perspectives & skills
· We are motivated through others – accountable to goals
When we find ourselves in upsetting times of discord and division, our tendency is to separate and isolate ourselves from others. In the short term, this reflexive instinct can be self-protective and self-preserving. But when isolation continues overtime, our mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual well-being is impaired and debilitated. This can be said of Western societies which are coined an individualistic society, focusing on our own needs, ahead of others. Compared to Eastern collective societies, our levels of loneliness and happiness are much lower. The great realisation that the pandemic has brought us, is how important social connections are.
SOCIAL CONNECTIONS HACK
Being apart has brought us closer together. Forging social connections is a human instinct and we are all finding ways to amplify it in these current times. Volunteering has never been as high since the second World War. We are getting to know our neighbours. A call to friends or family becoming more meaningful because it isn’t rushed or taken on the move - when we have time to really listen. We are talking to strangers, 2 metres apart whilst waiting in a supermarket queue. For today’s hack, simply be aware of a social connection you are making and notice how it makes you feel.