Eat your veggies, exercise, sleep well, and… connect? Did you know that maintaining healthy social connections improves well-being? Face-to-face contact makes us happier, lowers our blood pressure, curbs depression, and improves our sleep. However, technology is cutting into our face-to-face connection time, which makes us more prone to anxiety and depression, low self-esteem, and makes us more vulnerable to illness.
We remember to take our daily multivitamin, go to the gym, eat our greens, but we forget to take our daily dose of social connection.
Strong social connection leads to:
- A 50 per cent increased chance of longevity
- Faster illness-recovery times
- Higher self-esteem
- Lessened chance of mental illness
- More trust and empathy towards others
- A positive feedback loop of social, emotional, and physical well-being
Despite its clear importance for health and survival, sociological research suggests that social connectedness is waning at an alarming rate. This decline may explain reported increases in loneliness, isolation, and alienation, and may be why studies are finding that loneliness represents one of the leading reasons people seek psychological counseling.
Humans are social creatures. While we may get caught up in the busyness of day-to-day activities, the root of most of our desires is a need to belong, to be accepted, to connect with others, and to be loved.
This lack of social connectedness we are experiencing is an epidemic that the YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth is working to treat. The good news is that health and lifestyle problems are things that we can change. We just need the tools, the means, and the inspiration to become active, connect with others, and make healthy choices. We are in the process of building a new YMCA facility: the John W. Lindsay YMCA on the corner of Sackville and South Park Streets.
Our new facility will be family-friendly, and an environment that will inspire all members to lead healthy, long lives. The facility will offer a variety of programs for all ages and abilities under one roof. The John W. Lindsay YMCA will be a place where we can all come together to build a healthy community, which will in turn build individuals who experience spirit, mind, and body wellness.
We believe in the importance of community, its power to bring all people together, and create a sense of belonging. We believe that a well-functioning community is one that fosters the potential of every individual on their pursuit to health. The John W. Lindsay YMCA will get us there, together.
This article was inspired by facts from The Science of Happiness, Health, & Success and Connect to Thrive: Social Connection Improves Health, Well-Being, & Longevity both written by Emma Seppala, Ph.D.