Since the month of February is all about matters of the heart, we figured it’s the perfect opportunity to explore a fundamental way we can keep our hearts full: connection. As social beings, we thrive—mentally and physically—when we have people in our lives who we enjoy spending time with and can depend on. So, during this month of love, why not focus on cultivating your relationships to ensure they bring you joy and fulfillment?
The Heart of the Matter
More than just getting together with friends (though that’s important, too!), having a solid social support network—that is, people who you know will be there for you in times of need—is key for positive mental health and well-being. A Canadian Community Health Survey found that adults who indicated they had strong social support also self-reported significantly higher levels of happiness, psychological well-being and life satisfaction than respondents who indicated having low social support. Your support network could include a partner or spouse, family, friends, neighbours—any combination (or number) of people who genuinely have your best interests at heart.
Lonely Hearts Club
If you find yourself in this club from time to time, don’t worry—you’re not alone. Loneliness has varying causes and is something we’ve all experienced at one time or another, sometimes even while surrounded by people. Luckily, there are ways to combat this feeling, including by working on your social connections. More specifically, focus on the quality of your relationships and how they make you feel. Maybe there’s something missing from these connections that’s leaving you unfulfilled. Or maybe you simply need to remind yourself of all the good things that your relationships bring to your life. Either way, this type of reflection is a helpful place to start whenever you’re feeling alone.
Digital, self-directed solutions also exist to help address loneliness, including the Hugr app. However, keep in mind that if this feeling persists despite your best efforts, it can be a sign of a larger mental health issue—in this case, you may want to consider seeking professional support.
The Heart Wants What it Wants
We mentioned this already, but it’s important enough to say again: when it comes to social connection, it’s all about quality. That is, your relationships have to benefit you! There’s no one-size-fits all solution, nor is there a right or wrong way to be social. As long as you’re getting the support and care you need from your relationships, how you choose to connect with others or how often are just the fine details. And remember, if you ever need guidance to work through personal or interpersonal struggles, we’re here to help.