The importance of connection

by | 30 Aug 2023 | Mental Health, Unleashing You, Wellbeing

Meaningful, authentic connection with others is vital for our wellbeing and it is important that we proactively appreciate and nurture the relationships in our life.


Think about the people around you – family, friends, colleagues, and people in your community. 

Do you proactively appreciate and nurture these relationships? 

Do you recognise the value of the feeling of connection?

The importance of connection

Meaningful, authentic relationships with others is vital for our wellbeing.  This is not about whether you are an introvert or extravert, or enjoy actively socialising with others, and it is certainly not about the innumerable social media connections we might have.   

The phrase I use for the important connections in our life is ‘the people who are in our corner’.  Those that are there for us and we can turn to for support and those we proactively support.  It is the people we feel able to be our real, authentic self with, and relax in the knowledge that they value us being in their world.

The importance of being connected is evidenced by research on the benefits of feeling connected to others and the evidence of the impact of a lack of connection.  Meaningful relationships with others feature in some way in almost every model of wellbeing.

Research in 2022 showed that sadly 7% of people in GB experience chronic loneliness, with 49% saying they felt lonely some of the time, occasionally, often, or always.  This is not the same as isolation.  People can feel content on their own and lonely in a crowd.  Loneliness is an emotion that is an outcome of a lack of meaningful connection with others.  Loneliness increases the risk of poor mental health, particularly depression.

The benefits of connection

The benefits of connections are many and are associated with both the quality and variety of our relationships.  There are positive links to happiness, improved physical and mental health, resilience, and flourishing.

The stronger our support network the more likely we will feel able to seek out support when we need it, as well as be available to support others.  How many of us feel we can’t bother someone for help when we need it, yet are always willing and available to support others?

Having meaningful connections with others requires us to put effort into building, enriching, and maintaining them.  In the busyness of everyday life, we can sometime overlook the importance of this.  It is too easy to think you will do it later, or you don’t have time now.  Arguably we will never have enough time, we need to make the choice to prioritise appreciating the relationships in our world.

Building stronger connections to enhance wellbeing

  • Think about the people in your world. Think about all different areas of your life.  List them.
  • Which are the strongest and how do you ensure they stay strong? What specifically do you do and can make sure you continue doing?
  • Which would benefit from strengthening? Perhaps friends you haven’t contacted for a while, neighbours you pass briefly but rarely speak to, colleagues you talk business with but never check in with how they are, local community groups where you could get involved, etc. 
  • Now consider what simple actions you could take to invest in building these connections. What specifically will you do and when will you do it?

Sometimes actions can be as simple as being more present when you are with someone – do you fully listen when someone is talking to you, or do you get distracted?  Or maybe taking a few moments to message a friend, or even better actually call them.

A word of caution…. It is important to get the balance right.  Remember it is about having people there for you as well as being there for others, and whilst it is important to make time for those around you, don’t overstretch yourself.

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