Role of Social Connections in Emotional Healing- 14 Tips to Enhance Social Connections

What are Social Connections?

Our connections with the people in our network are referred to as social connections. Our interactions with others in our immediate vicinity encompass our social connections. They might be near us, such as family, friends, and coworkers, or they could be farther away, such as acquaintances.

They may be right around the corner or so far away that we can only communicate with them over the phone or online. However, this does not accurately portray the calibre of our connections. In reality, social connection is about connectedness: how much we interact with significant, sustaining individuals in our lives in ways that strengthen our sense of identity, emotional healing, and well-being.

What is Emotional Healing?

Acknowledging, admitting, embracing, integrating, and processing difficult life experiences and powerful emotions is the process of emotional healing. Empathy, self-control, self-compassion, self-acceptance, mindfulness, and integration may be involved.

What is the Role of Social Connections in Emotional Healing?

Our mental health depends on social interaction for a variety of reasons. Social relationships are important because they help us understand how people behave. It also forces us to admit that nobody, not even ourselves, can survive in this world on their own.

The benefits of social connectedness extend to both physical and mental health. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that the social support of family and friends may lessen the psychological and physical effects of stress and even strengthen the immune system. Unfortunately, when depressed, many persons with mental illnesses and emotional disorders tend to give in to the temptation to withdraw themselves and sink into a dark hole of hopelessness and loneliness. But over time, studies showed that maintaining and fostering relationships with family and friends—as well as asking for their love and support—is essential for well-being and recovery. It has been discovered that these social relationships provide comfort and hope during difficult emotional situations.

History of Social Connection as a Basic Human Need

The social connection was a central idea in influential psychological theories like Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs.” In his 1954 book Motivation and Personality, Abraham Maslow described and elucidated the significance of connection, which he dubbed “love and belongingness.” For psychological growth and development, according to his hierarchy, there are five requirements that must be met: (a) physiological, (b) shelter, (c) love and belongingness, (d) esteem, and (e) self-actualization. Being a member of a group bigger than oneself, whether it be one’s workplace, place of worship, community centre, volunteer organisation, team, interest group, or club, is crucial to the self-actualization process, according to Maslow.

For a person to be healthy and happy, they must also have intimate relationships with other, smaller groups or even dyads, such as their immediate family, close friends, or a life partner. They must also feel connected to others rather than lonely. Three fundamental human needs—autonomy, competence, and relatedness—are the centre of the self-determination theory that psychologists Deci and Ryan established. Feeling socially connected to other people is referred to as relatedness. This is comparable to Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs concepts of love and belongingness. They contend that when one of these fundamental requirements is not met, a person suffers. A person can only attain their highest level of performance, creativity, and well-being when all three of their requirements are satisfied.

The role of social contacts in human development has been widely discussed in the writings of several well-known psychologists and psychiatrists. For instance, in his books Raising Resilient Children, The Charismatic Advisor, and the Power of Resilience, Harvard psychologist Dr Robert Brooks amply illustrates the significant impact of just one charismatic adult on a person’s life. According to Dr Brooks, a charismatic adult is someone to who a youngster feels a connection and who they can turn to for support. Children who possess this strength can handle difficulty and keep going in the face of obstacles. Not just children, but all people, need charismatic adults in their life. Adults also require these folks.

What is the Impact of Poor Social Connections on Physical and Psychological Health?

Poor social ties can have a significant impact on our health. It may cause mental anxiety, poor sleep, high blood pressure, and increased cortisol levels (a stress hormone). Our immune systems may be impacted, and it may make us feel less pleased in general. An additional risk factor for antisocial conduct, despair, and suicide is a lack of social relationships.

People are more prone to emotional pain and managing emotions on their own in today’s changing world and hectic schedules. However, those who maintain relationships and are socially engaged are more likely to:

  • Have a higher quality of life
  • Be happier with their lives 
  • Have a decreased chance of mental deterioration

Teenagers and adults in their 20s who do not have healthy social connections are also in danger. Lack of social connections can directly affect a young person’s physical health by raising their risk of obesity, inflammation, and high blood pressure, which can result in long-term health issues like heart disease, stroke, and cancer. However, having a wide variety of social connections can help prevent physical deterioration. Even though we lead healthy lives, we still need to engage in social activities to maintain our emotional well-being.

How do Social Connections Help in Times of Emotional Distress and Help in Emotional Healing?

Social support and excellent mental health have many advantages. Lower rates of anxiety and despair, more self-esteem, more empathy, and closer relationships are all examples of correlations that have been demonstrated.

In addition to boosting our immune systems, meaningful relationships can also aid in illness recovery and possibly even increase lifespans. Several benefits of social interaction include:

  1. Offers stress relief

Helping us cope with the stresses we confront on a daily basis is one of the main roles that others play in our lives. Social connections provide us with the strength to carry forward despite the psychological and emotional difficulties we encounter. Our ability to control our emotions, reduce stress and anxiety, and occasionally even combat depression is facilitated by social interaction. It boosts our self-esteem and gives us a sense of hope. We have someone to weep on thanks to our social connections. It enables us to connect with unique people who actually love and care for us no matter what, which aids in the development of our mental and emotional fortitude.

  1. Sense of importance is conveyed

Being socially connected involves being around others who are open to hearing our ideas and emotions. Social connections with the important people in our lives seem to make us happier and more content. That reduces the amount of stress and uncertainty we complain about. And regardless of the difficulties we are facing in life, the social connection may make us feel loved and cared for. It helps us realise that, despite some of our flaws, we are still significant. people will find reasons to love everything about us despite the restricted things we can accomplish.

  1. Enhances Interaction

Good communication mostly comes from social connections. We learn a great deal about them and our social talents when we are around by a variety of individuals. Social connection can encourage us to express ourselves in complex ways. We frequently discuss a wide range of topics when we are socially linked, including our thoughts, feelings, ideas, and views. Social connection teaches us to listen more, which improves our ability to communicate. It enables us to establish a clear, healthy boundary by strongly enforcing respect and understanding in order to properly handle disagreements. It enhances social abilities that are helpful when dealing with groups, friends, coworkers, family, and the community.

  1. Promotes Physical Well-Being

Social interaction influences connected health outcomes, promoting physical health. Being socially connected increases the likelihood that we will meet new people and participate in a wide range of physical activities. In order to prevent solitude, social interaction might motivate us to step outside of our comfort zone. Because others around us will inspire us to engage in healthy behaviours, it can encourage us to take excellent care of ourselves. And because social interaction influences our behaviour, it improves our capacity for adaptation, which is essential for surviving and living a long life. We may live successful lives because social connection strengthens our total immune system.

What are the Different Types of Social Connections?

Social ties help us to deal with emotional anguish that is difficult to manage. Fortunately, there are steps we may do to speed up our emotional recovery. For instance, by spending time socially and making an effort to chat with someone every day, we may cultivate healthy connections with individuals who make us feel good.

We may connect with individuals in three different ways:

  1. Intimate relationships with our loved ones, including our family and friends
  2. Relational ties with people we meet frequently and who share interests with us, such as coworkers
  3. Collective connections with those in our same group or affiliation, such as those who vote in the same way we do or who practise the same religion.

14 Tips to Improve Social Connections for Better Emotional Healing

Having at least a few trustworthy friends and confidants around can help you feel better mentally and cope with stress. Following are some suggestions for expanding your social network:

  1. Volunteer

Choose a cause that matters to you, then get engaged. There will definitely be others you meet who have similar interests and beliefs.

  1. Join a workout centre or a group

Including physical activity throughout your day is a crucial component of living a healthy lifestyle. Making new pals while exercising is possible. Check out the gyms in your neighbourhood or the community centre.

  1. Attend a course

You can meet others who have the same interests or ambitions by enrolling in a course at a nearby community college or school.

  1. Try your hands at social networking sites

Social networking websites may aid in maintaining relationships with friends and family. For those going through difficult situations like chronic sickness, the death of a loved one, the birth of a child, divorce, or other life events, there are many helpful websites available. Make careful to only use reliable websites, and use caution when setting up in-person encounters.

  1. Reduce negative thoughts and develop a better understanding of yourself

Understanding your motivations for acting and responding in a specific manner might help you create more constructive interpersonal relationships. You’ll have a better view of life and attract more individuals you want to interact with if you reduce your negative self-talk.

  1. Say “yes” more frequently

Engage in social activities that interest you, including those that are online.

  1. Be cordial at work

Colleagues may provide support when adversity strikes and can serve as a source of compassion and camaraderie. Be willing to engage in a brief conversation with whomever you come across; think about making it a weekly ritual to share lunch together rather than pushing through it.

  1. Be present

If at all feasible, turn off your computer and go out for coffee or a drink with a friend or acquaintance. Eye contact, smiling, and being near to someone offer wonderful advantages

  1.  Keep in touch with your closest pals

Having a close-knit network of friends fosters mental wellness and speeds up the recovery from physical disease. Additionally, having enjoyable chats and sensing support and understanding might improve your quality of life.

  1. Regularly communicate 

Communicate regularly with your direct and extended family members, who in some ways know you best and can frequently be relied upon to support you during trying times.

  1. Make social interactions a priority in your schedule

Schedule time each week to connect with the individuals you care about, whether in person or online.

  1. Rekindle old friendships

Reliving experiences and events might help us become more resilient and emotionally balanced.

  1. Keep up existing social connections

Relationships go through ups and downs, but you can keep them going by showing more tolerance, exhibiting less judgement, and allowing individuals the temporary separation they require.

  1. Nurture your social connections

A good partnership demands active engagement on both sides.

The following ideas can help you strengthen your social connections:

  • Maintain contact. 

It shows that you care when you answer calls, emails, and invites, among other things.

  • Avoid competing. 

Rather than feeling envious when your friends achieve, be pleased.

  • Take time to listen. 

When your pals speak, pay attention. Discover what matters to them.

  • Don’t go overboard. 

Be careful not to contact friends and relatives too frequently by phone or email. Save the busy times for when you’re actually in need of them.

  • Respect your family and friends. 

Spend some time thanking them and letting them know how much they mean to you.

  • Giving back.

Be there for friends and family when they need you.

Download our free worksheet to strengthen your social connections.