Why Being Connected Can Boost Wellbeing For Your Mind and Body

Nurture your sense of belonging.



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Acceptance, love, and respect are valued by all. Generating these positive feelings is easier than one thinks; it is about making connections with others at work, in friendships, and by sharing interests. Simply feeling like one is part of a group is healthy for mind and body, and for those around!

Humans are hardwired for connection, according to Forbes, striving to feel unity with others who share the same ideals or beliefs. A prime example of belonging is formed at work when employees share the same goals and develop a team spirit together.

Ranks high on hierarchy of needs
According to Medical News Today, love, belonging, and social connection are an important part of psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. A sense of belonging comes right after Maslow’s basic physiological and safety needs are met. This type of social connection is found in a group. It can be large like religious organizations or social media groups, or small like a spouse, family members, or friends. This is because, according to Maslow, humans love to be loved. And without this sense of belonging, people may feel depressed, lonely, and socially anxious.

A study from the University of Michigan published in ScienceDaily shows that a sense of belonging is fundamental in overcoming depression. They found that having a low sense of belonging can lead to depression more than loneliness or conflict. 

Membership leads to higher self-esteem
The key to belonging is via membership, according to this PLOS ONE research article, with higher self-esteem found in those who have multiple group memberships.  

This study looked at both children and adults. Across the spectrum, those who were part of multiple groups had higher personal self-esteem. This is because people get meaning from belonging and take pride in their group memberships.

How to become more connected
Life revolves around connection, according to the Mayo Clinic. This can be through family, cheering on sports teams, supporting political parties, attending spiritual groups, and even feeling part of a city and nationality.

Improving one’s sense of connection requires making an effort, even if it feels hard and uncomfortable at first. It also necessitates an open mind to try out new activities and meet new people. Lastly, developing a sense of belonging involves acceptance of others who may think differently. It is best to focus on the similarities shared as opposed to the differences. 

Belonging improves resilience
These new ‘memberships’ are shown to improve resilience and help people manage stress better. So when times get tough, having this sense of belonging diminishes negative mental and physical effects.

It is also important to be authentic when joining a group, suggests Forbes. Authenticity signals vulnerability and can lead to developing trust with others. Being vulnerable also imbues empathy which can lead to a sense of belonging.

Another tip to is embrace a group that shares a common purpose. If there is no such group, form one. People will come, solidarity will be established, and belonging will be developed. Belonging to a group often leads to long-lasting relationships with others, according to verywell mind

Connection ultimately brings meaning to one’s life. Those who belong to a group feel like they are contributing to something larger and more important than themselves. Join a group or two to nurture that amazing sense of wellbeing and belonging.

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