At Love.Life, we want to help you have meaningful relationships and improve social connectedness. Here are five actionable tips to get started.
- Connect with like-minded people. Spend time with friends and family who have similar health goals to support your own success. The brain has mirror neurons that mimic the behaviors of others. For example, have you ever yawned after seeing someone else yawn or opened your own mouth when feeding a baby? Healthy attitudes and behaviors are contagious in the same way. Seek out friends who have similar values, healthy habits, and life goals.
- Get active with others. Meet a friend for a walk or a workout to strengthen your friendship. Moving with another person is even more beneficial as the release of endorphins is greater together. This gives an immediate mood lift and decreases fatigue and pain perceptions and enhances overall performance. Each week, do something physical that you love with someone you love spending time with and notice the impact on your mood. Remember taking a walk after a meal with friends not only improves digestion and blood sugar control but also provides an opportunity for a deeper connection.
- Take care of yourself. It’s the most powerful thing you can do for everyone. Commitments should never override self-care. Focus on just the next step. Don’t discount the value of small changes, like taking a 10-minute walk or putting your phone on do not disturb for an hour. Seek out an opportunity for a warm hug or meaningful conversation to lower your stress before bed. Build your habits from the present moment and gain momentum.
- Be present in the moment. Don’t multitask. You can focus on the quality of the time you spend with others by reducing distractions and giving others eye contact and full attention. Just five minutes of quality conversation can have more meaning than an hour of distracted communication. If your phone is the number one distraction put it away when out with friends. When alone, find time for some solitude – read, meditate, spend time in nature. Sitting with your own thoughts allows time for wonder and creativity.
- Be there for others when it counts. Your friends and family will always remember your support. Talk about things that are deeper and real like health goals, finances, career choices, and relationships – not just small talk. Being a friend during a difficult time strengthens the bonds of friendship. Small acts are also important. Bring a plant to a neighbor, offer a hug, deliver food to someone in need, offer to babysit or walk a pet. Acts of service can help you re-center your time around people who matter to you. Commit to 15 minutes a day of connecting with people you care about.