FIVE WAYS TO CONNECT WITH PEOPLE AND BOOST YOUR MENTAL WELLBEING
Mental health and wellbeing is an integral part of us to maintain. Beyond being free of depression, anxiety, or other mental disorder, and illnesses mental health encompasses other positive attributes and includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. The WHO defines it as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stress of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to his or her community”.
In our previous article on regaining your mental wellbeing, we discussed seven ways to improve your mental health. One of the most effective tips espoused is connecting with people. At a time when digital interactions have overtaken physical connection and interactions with people, knowing how to effectively connect with people in order to boost your mental well-being may come off as a herculean task. Looking to make new friends and effectively connect with people to boost your mental health? These 5 effective strategies can go can show you how.
GO OUT OFTEN AS YOU CAN Every new day is an opportunity for you to make new friends and connect with people on a deeper level. But this is not possible unless you intentionally work towards that. Digital connections are great but making worthwhile physical connections is best for your mental health. Some notable places where you can meet new people include;
At local community events or volunteer programs.
At libraries, reading classes or clubs .
During morning exercises at the community field.
At churches, cinemas, wedding parties, fast foods, or even PTA meetings.
PAY ATTENTION WHEN MEETING NEW PEOPLE It is one thing to go to these places or attend events with the intention of making new friends and yet another thing to pay rapt attention to when establishing new contact. It is not uncommon to see people chatting away at events where they are meant to network or bringing out their phones each time during conversations with others to check for social media notifications. This can be a huge impediment to truly connecting with people. Rather than this, it is really important that you focus on what people are saying and pay attention to details when they are talking to you. Maintaining eye contact with them and ask open-ended questions that allows the free flow of conversation.
EMPATHIZE WHERE NECESSARY People find it easier to connect with people who can relate to their stories, passions, or values. A dose of empathy, where necessary, and an understanding of your acquaintance’s struggles can aid/influence a great connection between you two.
MAKE A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION The saying that “first impression matters” is valid even in social settings. You want to leave imprints and memories of your first meeting with the person long after it has entered ended. For this to happen, it is not just important that you dress and speak appropriately your nonverbal communication also matters. This includes your posture, facial expressions, gesticulation, and tone of voice. Whether you know it or not, this factor can make or mar your quest of connecting with people.
FINDING A MUTUAL AREA OF INTEREST If you looking to foster/build your connection until it blossoms into friendship, finding a mutual area of interest is certainly a given to solidify your relationship. What are you passionate about? Share it if your new friend also has similar interest. Alternatively, your values, job experiences and future aspirations can also serve to cement your friendship.