As you can probably imagine, I read a lot about the topic of human connection and recently I came across an article written for Scientific American titled, “To Combat Loneliness, Promote Social Health.”
It not only honed in on the mounting evidence that shows relationships should be a public health priority, but it reported that the UK has recently appointed a Minister for Loneliness. Tracey Crouch is tasked with tackling a sad reality of modern life, which is that around 14 percent of the population of Britain often or always feel lonely. And this costs the business community and government billions of dollars every year.
The appointment of a Minister of Loneliness and the move for government to create policy and programs around social connection is pretty astounding and I wanted to know more about the idea of loneliness as a public health priority, in the same way that nutrition and vaccinations are.
So, I reached out to the author of the article, Kasley Killam, to see if she was open to an interview and she said YES!
This idea of human connection becoming something we think about in the same way as exercise and nutrition is incredible. With all the research and momentum in this area, I really see this becoming something we’re all becoming more and more aware of and taking action of.
So, here are some takeaways and action items I got from this conversation:
- We thrive when we create strong social ties and a deep sense of belonging. How healthy we are is directly influenced by how connected we are.
- There is so much research that shows us that the quality of our social health is the single biggest predictor of our physical and emotional health. What could you be doing today to take care of your social health?
- Similar to nutrition and exercise, how much social connection we need will differ from person to person.
- While it’s new, there are some doctors who are prescribing social activity as part of a person’s wellness program. Loneliness is now being seen as a public health issue.
- Is technology contributing to our lack of connection or could it be alleviating it? The only way to know is to ask ourselves if using technology makes us feel better, does it make us feel happier and more connected to the people around us? If it’s making you feel isolated or agitated, perhaps it’s time to create some boundaries.
- There are so many things we could be doing to strengthen our own social health. We don’t have to wait for policy or government initiatives to take root before we start caring for this part of our lives.
- Caring for your social health doesn’t mean we have to be social all the time. That would be draining, even painful for some people. Focus on quality over quantity.
- A great step towards creating more social ties is to get involved in things you care about, things you are passionate about. Take a class, join a club. Make it your intention to meet people who share your interests.
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I’m so grateful for this conversation. A big, huge thanks to Kasley Killam for being my guest today. You can connect with her at kasleykillam.com.
Until next time,