Humans are social creatures. We have an innate need to connect and be social with other people. The connections we create with others adds meaning and value to our lives.
For most, our immediate family are some of the first people that we connect and socialise with. They play a huge role in shaping our lives during our formative years, offering support for our growth and development into adulthood.
As we move through the different stages of life we meet other people, we make friends of varying ages and sexes. We build a variety of relationships. These relationships offer us a support base, a safe zone and a place to express our concerns. We socialise and celebrate life’s achievements with them. They know intimate details about our lives and offer support during the rough times. They are some of our closest confidants.
Our community and broader surroundings offer opportunities to engage in social activities, build broader connections, and find meaning and purpose in our life. We find these connections through work, hobbies, sporting activities, mother’s groups, online, through others or at community events. The place in which we live can impact how we engage with the community around us. Large cities offer a broader variety of opportunities than small and remote parts of Australia. However, the cost of living is higher in a large city and socialising can cost money. What this shows us is that our health and wellbeing is sometimes impacted by circumstances that are much bigger than us.
Having a peaceful well functioning civil society around us also impacts our health and wellbeing. The fundamental conditions and resources for a civil society are peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable eco-system, sustainable resources, social justice and equity.
The way a society governs itself, sets the rules, makes decisions, and resolves disputes is really important. This creates an environment in which we have access to essential services and can safely get on with our lives. We are not distracted by civil disputes and disruptions that impact how we live. All of these factors combined make for a healthy place for us to create meaningful lives and healthy relationships.
Healthy relationships and social interactions, whether they are with family, friends, the community or society at large is vital for our health and wellbeing. Without these connections we are vulnerable to a variety of health issues. We are more likely to experience depression, low self-esteem, poor mental health and alcoholism. We can feel isolated, alone and unsupported or that our life lacks meaning and purpose.
Three ways we can create and maintain healthy relationships and connections with our community:
- Get out and about. Discover what’s in your immediate neighbourhood that offers opportunities to meet other people. Go for a walk, find a public library, a shopping centre or local park.
- Engage is community social events. For example, markets, food festivals, workshops, mothers groups, hobbies and sporting activities. These are all great ways to get to know our surroundings and meet people
- Start your own group. Use your knitting skills or sporting interests to find likeminded people and bring them together. Meetup.com and Facebook are both great ways to create a themed group. Get together once a month. You never know who might also be keen to meet new people.
Catch up on the rest of our Building a Healthy Lifestyle series here.