GOOD MORNING MONDAY – AFFIRMATIVE THOUGHTS FOR A GREAT WEEK
Good Morning. It is Monday once again. How was your weekend? Were you able to unplug and relax a little? I hope so. Anne Lamott has a great quote that says,“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you,” 😊! Please remember this quote and try to put it into action in your life, at least occasionally. It totally rings true! Do not feel that you are weak or not measuring up to expectations if you need a little down time. We all do! Don’t forget; you are human. Honoring your needs for some rest and relaxation does a body and a brain good!
Do you know what else does a body and a brain good? Connecting with others; yes, social connections. However, many times we do not give this the attention it needs either. We pride ourselves on being independent, on pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and not needing nor depending on anyone. We think this is strong. This thought process is consistent with the Simon & Garfunkel song, “I Am A Rock”. Some of the phrases in this song are, “I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain…I am a Rock; I am an Island”. Yet, this cannot be farther from the truth. In fact, as human beings, belonging, to be connected and to be loved is our deepest desire. Being socially connected is as critical to our survival as the air we breathe. The ability to think socially is so critical that we have a separate brain system that is only for this kind of thinking. If it were not important, we would not be wired this way!
So, even though being socially connected is critical for us, studies have shown that the number of close confidants (people with whom you feel comfortable sharing a personal problem) Americans have has been decreasing over time. In 1985 it was three; in 2004 it was one; with 25% of Americans stating they have no one to confide in ☹. I am not sure where the statistics are at today; but, with all the technology we use, human connections seem to be for many, waning more and not given as high a priority.
We are social creatures. Our social networks make us feel safe and secure. In fact, one of the best things we can do to live a long, healthy life is not a trip to the doctor, a change in our diet or a new supplement regimen; it is all about social connections. Research shows that strong social ties are linked to living a longer life. The experience of feeling close to and having a sense of belonging with others contributes to increased lifespan, immunity, decreased anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, empathy and happiness, and the list goes on and on. Across cultures, social connection is key for well-being.
Social connections are not only important in your personal life they are as important in your work life too. I am sure you have all heard and possibly even said, “I am here to work; not to make friends.” However, just as “social” is important outside of work; it is as critical within the work environment. Strong social connections make people happier and physically healthier; which translates to higher individual work performance and company performance. You spend much of your life at work. Building friendships and relationships in the work environment matters. Studies show that workplaces that support, encourage and create environments where people feel connected, experience increased engagement, loyalty, creativity, etc., and both the top and bottom line of performance are positively impacted.
What does this all mean for you? Don’t be an “island”! Cultivate connections. Reach out to others. Share your life with others both at work and at home. Surround yourself with people who you appreciate and who appreciate you both on the inside and out.
Make a commitment to increase your social connections.Create several social goals for yourself. At the end of the day, it is not the quantity of connections that you have, but the quality of the connections you have that really matters. It can be as simple as picking up the phone and calling a friend that you have not talked to in a while just to catch up. Or, it might be sharing a meal with some friends at work. You can do it! You can always continue to foster your sense of connections with others. Whatever is authentic for you, that is the way that you should move forward to realize this goal.
Commit to yourself, your health, well-being and happiness that you will try each day to connect with others. It takes a little bit of courage, a spirit of adventure and knowing that happiness is not perfected until it is shared. We truly do need each other 😊!
Have a GREAT day and a GREAT week!