Connect

Types of Connections

The relationships and connections we develop are diverse and will change over time. A social network can be made up of anyone, such as family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbours to name a few. However, a supportive social network is made up of people that we feel comfortable around, we can tell anything, we feel valued with them, and we feel like we can count on them for support when we face challenges. Not all connections and relationships need to be as intimate or close, or offer the same things. Having a wide social network made up of different connections within our community and with all sorts of people, offer different benefits.

 
Navigation

Connecting is about engaging with other people and the social world around us. 

Navigation

Beyond connections with family and friends, sharing interests with like-minded individuals and sharing values with others in our community helps us feel connected to something larger where we live. To improve our mental health and wellbeing, it’s important to spend time nurturing all different types of connections to build a varied network of relationships. There are also ways of connecting that don’t involve interacting with others. You may connect with yourself through quiet reflection, connect with nature or animals, or connect in a spiritual way.

 
Benefits of Connecting

Connecting with others and developing positive relationships has a significant influence on our mental health and wellbeing. The social connections we build with others helps us to:

  • share our feelings and know that we are understood,

  • feel like we belong, feel valued and accepted,

  • affirm our sense of self-worth,

  • seek help and emotional support,

  • more easily move forward from negative experiences,

  • support others, which promotes our mental wellbeing and theirs.

However, sometimes connecting with others can cause distress, particularly if these relationships are negative or require us to care for others in distress. Sometimes you may even feel pressure from too many connections and the obligations that can come from these. By making choices and consciously attending to the connections in our lives, we can focus on those that are meaningful and work to balance caring for others while caring for ourselves.

How to Connect
 

Often it’s the small simple day to day actions that can make a real difference to us and help us feel connected to others. In today’s world with the constant use of technology and busy schedules, we often close ourselves off to other people without even realizing it. By choosing to make a conscious effort each day to open up to others, you can begin to experience the many benefits of connecting. At first connecting may take effort, but you’ll be surprised how quickly small pleasant gestures can become second nature. Take a look at the simple suggestions and local opportunities for ideas on how you can connect.

 
Simple Suggestions

Give these simple suggestions a try:

  • When possible, put away distractions and take time each day to connect with your family. 

  • While waiting in lines or when taking transit, put down your phone and have a lighthearted chat with those around you.

  • Take the time to ask someone questions about themselves that you’ve never asked before.

  • During meals, put away all distractions and focus on connecting with your friends or family.

  • Make the effort to phone someone – it's all too easy get into the habit of only ever texting, messaging or emailing people.

  • Arrange a day out with someone you haven’t connected with in a while.

  • Chat with your coworkers at break or over lunch.

  • Try joining a committee at work or getting involved in workplace social events.

  • Host a potluck at work or in your neighbourhood.

  • Read the newspaper or community bulletin boards to find out what is happening in your neighbourhood.