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The Power of Authentic Connection

Author: DR PAULA ROBERTSON, MBBS, FRCPCH PAEDIATRICIAN

Out of necessity, the COVID 19 pandemic forced many of us to make online and virtual connections with others, yet research shows that many people reported feeling lonelier and more isolated than ever. As social creatures, we know we need connection with others, but what are the benefits of healthy meaningful connection? And how do we achieve this?

Human connection is a deep bond formed between people when they feel seen and valued, and are able to build trust with each other. When we feel authentic connection with another, we develop a sense of belonging. And as social creatures, the desire to belong is hard wired in us.

According to American psychologist Abraham Maslow, all human beings have a set of important needs, often referred to a Pyramid or Hierarchy. After food, water and safety, love and belonging are the next most important human needs to be fulfilled. This includes our need for interpersonal relationships, intimacy and connection with others. When these needs are met, our sense of well-being improves.

The 2021 World Happiness Report found that people who experienced an increase in meaningful connectedness with others during the pandemic had:

  1. Greater life satisfaction
  2. More resilience ( the ability to bounce back after life’s challenges)
  3. Improved mental health

Positive and supportive human connections have also been shown to decrease health risks, promote healthy longevity and even to boost the immune system.

 


So, how do we foster more meaningful connections? Here are some tips:

Be proactive:

Be proactive and reconnect with friends and family, or build new relationships. Make your well-being a priority and try new activities to build fulfilling human connections.

Give back to others:

Volunteering is a great way to connect with others, make friends, and find a sense of purpose. Helping those in need also improves gratitude and well-being.

Find people with shared interests:

See if you can find clubs or groups of people with a shared interest or passion, as you’re likely to bond with those who have similiar interests.

Go outside your comfort zone:

Sometimes to make these important connections, we have to embrace situations outside our comfort zone. Be open to trying something new!

Be authentic and present:

Focus on being fully present and engaging with those around you, rather than distant or distracted. Being authentic and present brings the best of yourself to those in your community.

Stay in touch:

Human connection needs to be nurtured. Take time to nurture and grow both your new and existing relationships with close friends, family, or team members.

Wishing you well on your connection quest,

Be well,

Paula

Dr Paula Robertson is a mom and a paediatrician with over twenty years’ experience working with children and young people. You can follow her at www.paulathedoctormom.com.

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