Social Connection: Science, Benefits and Tips

Humans are social creatures therefore, we make social connections with others regularly. Social connection is often brought about through positive communication, so it is important to maintain good relationships with people you are close to or even with those you have just met.

For good reason, social connections are sometimes referred to as “social capital” since it benefits us a lot. In this article, we will discuss the meaning of social connection, the benefits of social support, the risk factors involved with loneliness, and tips that can help us keep strong social connections.

What is a social connection?

Social connection is the act or process of forming personal connections with another person. It is important to maintain a good social connection because it helps us psychologically and physically. Moreover, just being around other people increases the connection.

Perceived social connection

The more social connection we perceive, the more likely we are to be happy in life. However, the notion of social connection is more complex than the word “connection” might imply. This is because it includes someone’s subjective experience of having been understood and connected to others, not necessarily their communication or physical presence with others in a literal sense.

It is possible to have a high perception of social connection, yet not actively engage with others. This is because the act of simply thinking about our relationships with others – or even imagining them – increases feelings of social connection.

Social connection

Where can you find a social connection?

Social connections can be found in a variety of places, and take place in everyday life. For instance, relationships with family, friends, acquaintances and intimate relationships can all provide us with social connections. Being part of a community -as well as events and activities associated with it- is also a way for people to find social connections.

Places where you can go to get social connections are:

  • Gym
  • Work club
  • Sports team
  • (Online) School
  • Activities group
  • Neighborhood watch group
  • Public transportation
  • Church
  • Hanging out with close friends
  • Volunteer group
  • Reading about people online
  • Playing video games with friends
  • Skyping with family members
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Using social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter

So as you can see there are a variety of ways to engage in social connections. In this sense, a social connection can be achieved by actively engaging with other people on a daily basis.

Social connection and health

Social connection and health

Feeling socially connected is good for our well-being. In other words, people tend to be generally happier in their daily lives if they have social connections as it brings both physical and psychological health benefits.

Psychological and Mental health benefits

Mental health benefits that social connection brings are:

  • Decreased risk of mental illness
  • Increased sense of self-worth
  • Improved coping skills with depression and anxiety
  • Decreased unhealthy behaviors like drug use
  • Lower levels of anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Less likely to experience sadness and loneliness
  • Higher resilience in adverse events and situations
  • Memory and focus
  • Self-esteem and confidence
  • Empathy for others
  • Reduced stress levels

The mental health benefits that come from being socially connected are essential to humans because our brains are wired to be social beings.

Physical health benefits

Social ties are not only good for your mental well-being but there are also physical health benefits like:

  • Faster recovery after surgery or medical procedures
  • Increased life expectancy
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Higher likelihood to exercise regularly
  • Lower levels of cortisol and a stronger immune system
  • Increase rest and sleep quality
  • Increase physical performance
  • Increase live longer
  • More likely to have economic success

People tend to overlook physical health benefits simply because they don’t take social connections seriously. However, being socially connected is an essential part of our health and we should take advantage of it as much as we can.

Social isolation

Social isolation

On the other side, social isolation, and loneliness, are linked to psychological and physical problems. These include:

  • Mental and emotional problems
  • Physical illness
  • Increased risk of early death by 26-32%
  • Increased risk of disease and cancer
  • Decreased immune system functioning
  • Smoking
  • Inactiveness
  • Higher suicide rates
  • Dangerous physical activity

Social isolation should be avoided at all costs because chronic loneliness can cause serious short and long-term problems for your physical and mental well-being. While social connections benefit you both physically and psychologically, isolation harms you in many ways.

Social connection

How to make social connections

Social interactions often bring about feelings of happiness and fulfillment but sometimes it can be difficult to build relationships with other people. Because social connections make us feel good, we are likely to want more of them. For example, here are some ways in which you can increase your social connection:

  • Be interested in other people
  • Show interest and enthusiasm for what others say or do
  • Listen more than you speak
  • Smile and laugh often
  • Make eye contact with those around you
  • Help others feel welcome and included
  • Be a good friend and encourage others when they need it
  • Don’t pressure people into talking if they don’t wish to do so
  • Give people a chance and show empathy
  • Don’t talk too much about yourself
  • Ask open-ended questions instead of closed ones
  • Be genuine in your interactions with people
  • Be consistent in your presence so people can get to know you better

The quality of our social connections is what keeps us healthy, meaningful, and happy in life. Don’t focus on money or power. Instead, focus on healthy relationships and friendships and you will find more happiness in life.


Giving praise in social connection

One important aspect of social connectedness is the exchange of praise. Praise is an important aspect of social connectedness because it helps people feel more confident about their abilities. Praise is important for motivation as it can intrinsically and extrinsically motivate someone to try harder. In other words, it gives people a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. When we feel confident about our abilities, we often feel happier and more successful in what we do.

How to praise someone

When giving praise to others, it is important to be genuine and sincere with your words. Don’t try to flatter someone by giving them false compliments. Instead, praise the effort and learning curve and not the end result. For example, saying, “You’re so talented!” is not as effective as saying, “I know how much work it took you to get here and I’m impressed by that. You worked hard and you deserved the outcome.”

Having social connections

A word from Sublime People

Social connections are essential to our health and happiness since they have a profound effect on the way we feel about ourselves, both physically and psychologically. The feeling of having social relationships, the positive feedback we get from others, and the strong sense of connection with our community can make us feel confident about ourselves.

Whether over a physical distance or not, try to plan social events for yourself. When you stay socially connected, you feel less lonely and isolated which in turn makes you physically and psychologically healthier.

We as human beings are social creatures that crave affection and connection with others so don’t let yourself become a hermit because you don’t have the motivation to meet others. Sign up for a class, go out on a date, or volunteer at an animal shelter – anything to try and foster social connections in your life is worth it for your well-being.

What do you think about social connections? We would love to hear your opinion!