Loneliness Has Negative Health Consequences, These are 5 Ways to Create Connection!

Have you ever heard of the phrase “you can be in a crowded room but still feel lonely?” Unfortunately, it rings true for many North Americans today in our society as loneliness statistics climb to staggering numbers. The Western world is technologically connected in more ways than ever before, yet many humans are finding themselves disconnected from in-person and face to face interactions. In North American culture many of us are heavily focused on being “individualistic” whether that be living alone, climbing the corporate ladder, or becoming successful. While there is nothing wrong with striving for these ambitions, it can come at a cost – meaningful connections. When all is said and done, our relationships with others and ourselves is the most important thing that most people look back upon. Community and quality time is not only lacking in our society, it is actually having negative health consequences. In 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) even announced that loneliness is a pressing global health threat which can be equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day! How do we combat this loneliness? Through connection – to ourselves and by fostering healthy relationships. If you’ve been feeling lonely or know someone who is currently struggling with this feeling, we are going to share 5 helpful ways to create more connection in your life. 

If you’re interested in learning more, keep on reading..

1. Be present with the people around you 

One of the keys to connection is being present. It’s impossible to really connect if you’re on your phone, distracted, thinking about your to-do lists, or simply disengaged. One of the greatest gifts we can offer another human is a listening ear. People want to be seen and heard. When you make the time for others with your presence in conversations, they will do the same for you. If you find it difficult to stay present, you’re not alone! Being present is a practice and here are a few ways you can practice being in the present moment:

  • Take a few deep belly breaths and long exhales to ground into your body. Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to relax and be in the moment.
  • Make eye contact! This may feel uncomfortable at first if you aren’t used to it but if you start making an effort to look into someone’s eyes when you’re speaking it actually shows you’re listening and engaging intently.

2. Volunteer

There are endless benefits of volunteering. Being of service and giving our time to a cause not only feels good, but it also provides a multitude of ways to connect with others. When you volunteer you get the chance to meet new people, make connections, boost your confidence, and feel a sense of purpose. In almost every town or city there are multiple ways to volunteer your time, whether it be at a food bank or a local community centre. Do some research on what’s around your local town and see how you can get involved and create more connection in your life.

3. Plan outdoor activities with groups of friends or other families

Now that the weather is getting nicer, it’s a great opportunity to host some outdoor get togethers with groups of people. Hosting a beach volleyball tournament, barbecues at the park, or picnics/potlucks, are a great way of getting people together and enjoying each other’s company. If you do get together with some friends outdoors for a beach or picnic day, here are a few activity ideas you can try together:

  • Water balloon toss: Form teams of two lines facing each other. In each successful toss of the balloon filled with water the participants must take a step back and keep throwing the water balloon to each other further and further away. After every successful toss a step back must be taken. If the water balloon falls, you are eliminated from the game.
  • Hula hoop contest: This game is all about using the hips and core! Participants must do what they can to keep the hoops spinning the longest. 

4. Find local groups within your community

Nowadays, we’re lucky to have online platforms that allow for the ability to find connection within our local communities. Whether you’re a fan of hiking, dancing, or baking, there might just be a local group in your community that already exists for that thing! By utilizing Facebook or the app Meetup you can use key words to search for groups within your area that you can join. It’s not always easy to get out of your comfort zone and take a step into do something new, but it could be exactly what you need for connection!

5. Make time to be with yourself

Sometimes feeling less lonely is also about the ability to enjoy the solitude of your own company. Spending time with yourself shouldn’t be avoided, it’s a great way to connect to your own self. Whether you take the time to read a good book, put on a face mask for a little self-care, or take a relaxing bath, make the most of time by yourself. It could be one of the best things you do for your mental health! 

All in all, in a society that can have the tendency to prioritize productivity over meaningful connections, it is up to us to claim what makes us truly happier. In order to feel less lonely, we must create opportunities in our lives and communities to enjoy the company of others. After all, our relationships are the most important things we have in life!

Alexia Palmeri

Alexia Palmeri is a 28-year-old personal development enthusiast! She looks at life experiences as an opportunity to always learn and grow. Alexia is also a broadcast journalism graduate with a passion and knack for communications and media. She is always on the lookout for new trends on social media and keeps up to date with what's happening in the world. In her free time, Alexia enjoys socializing with family and loved ones, being in nature, cooking nourishing meals, and discovering new places to dine and adventure!

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