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What does being social mean? Is it gathering with friends and family or is it spending time on sites and apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Marco Polo? I suppose it is both these day, but it seems like more and more of our social interactions happen in the virtual world instead of the real world. And, why not? Social media is such a convenient way to stay connected with friends and family and to start and grow relationships. I am definitely a fan of using social media in both personal and business contexts, but it is important to make space in our lives for real life social interactions. Humans still need to gather with other humans!
The Importance of Gathering:
- Being socially connected is good for your physical health. Some studies suggest that it can have an impact similar to quitting smoking or regular exercise.
- Social connections also seem to have a positive effect on mental health. Having more social connections seems to correlate to better mental health. While a decrease in connections typically leads to decreased mental health.
- Being part of a socially connected group provides you with resources to fall back on in times of need. Simple things like a friend bringing dinner when you are sick or being a listening ear in times of grief can lighten your load enough to make your struggles more manageable.
- You can learn a lot when you spend time with other people. You may have exposure to cultures, ideas, and ways of thinking that you may otherwise miss out on. You might even find new ways that you enjoying spending time.
If you are still in the market for a New Year's Resolution, try gathering a little more often this year. Gather with those in your existing social groups - family, friends, classmates, etc. (One of my favorite things to do is have friends over for dinner and games. So simple and yet so much fun!) Take some time to find opportunities to join new social groups. Perhaps a group based on shared interests - book clubs, hiking group, gardening club. Or, based on your current life situation - new mom group, baby-sitting co-op, study group.
Oh, one more thing - if you need a little bit of extra confidence in social situations, look no further than your essential oil collection. Motivate Encouraging Blend promotes courage and a positive attitude. Wild Orange is always good for a mood boost and a burst of energy. Both helpful in many social situations.