By Miranda Massie on October 3, 2017
I came across this tweet from UBC Public Affairs last week:
“New UBC research explains why you think everyone else has more friends than you do”
It piqued my interest because the theme for this month’s newsletter is social health. In preparation, our team has been reflecting on what social health looks like and how it takes shape within our relationships and connections with others.
This new research reflects a widespread belief that people think their peers are more socially connected and have more friends. However, the reality reveals this to be untrue. Essentially, we are convincing ourselves that everyone else is getting invited to the party but us, and this is resulting in negative consequences on our self-esteem and mental health.
The word social can be intimidating, particularly for those who identify as introverts, but we can still reap the benefits of social connections even when we keep our circle small.
Top five reasons to stay connected this fall:
- Improve your thinking. We are more likely to think in positive and empowering ways when we have meaningful connections with others.
- Protect yourself. Social support and associated boosts in self-esteem are protective factors against life’s stressors.
- Get well and live longer. Being emotionally supported by others leads to improvements in physical health and longevity. Allowing yourself to seek this support during stressful times can improve a person’s overall wellbeing.
- Boost self-esteem. Social support impacts self-esteem. Higher self-esteem is associated with lower levels of anxiety, depression and distress.
- Find more satisfaction. Self-esteem is also associated with higher levels of overall life satisfaction and happiness.
Check out this TED Talk about the power of human connection:
More than ever, I’m convinced that FOMO (the fear of missing out), is a real thing — I have a major case of it most of the time — but I am comforted in the fact that research has now confirmed that it is mostly in my own head.
This month I invite you to reflect on, and appreciate, the friendships and social opportunities that you have instead of those that you don’t. Whether your social circles are large or small, we can all benefit from continuing to connect with others.
If you are interested in practical ways to create and deepen connections with others, check out the following links:
- The Chopra Centre’s 10 Ways to Deepen Your Connections With Others
- TED Talk’s How to connect with others
- Entrepreneur.com’s How to Immediately Connect with Anyone
Photo credit: UBC Communications and Marketing
Kawachi, Ichiro and Lisa Berkman. (2001) Social Ties and Mental Health. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 78:458-467.
Steinhardt, Mary and Christyn Dolbier. (2008) Evaluation of a Resilience Intervention to Enhance Coping Strategies and Protective Factors and Decrease Symptomatology. Journal of American College Health, 56: 445-453.
Thoits, Peggy. (2011). Mechanisms Linking Social tied and Support to Physical and Mental Health. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, 52:145-161.
By Miranda Massie on October 5, 2016
How do you celebrate the fall? A walk through crunchy leaves or perhaps by curling up with a good book? Maybe hauling out your favourite fuzzy scarf, or by ordering as many pumpkin spice lattes as you can?
As social beings, we crave connections and interactions with others, but the change in weather around this time of year, coupled with shortening days, can sometimes lead us to recede into the warmth of our homes to hibernate.
Spending some quality time in solitude is a great way to recharge and relax, but too much can leave us feeling lonely, isolated and out of touch.
Here are our top six reasons to stay connected this fall:
- Improve your thinking: We are more likely to think in positive and empowering ways when we have meaningful connections with others.
- Be proactive: Social support, and associated boost in self-esteem are protective factors against life’s stresses.
- Live longer: Being emotionally supported by others leads to improvements in physical health and longevity.
- Boost self-esteem: Social support impacts self-esteem. Higher self-esteem is associated with lower levels of anxiety, depression and distress.
- Find satisfaction: Self-esteem is also associated with higher levels of overall life satisfaction and happiness.
- Get well: Allowing yourself to seek support and help during stressful times can improve a person’s health and wellbeing.
This month, as the days grow shorter and we start to bundle up against the cold and impending rain, I invite you to spend some time re-invigorating your connections with others.
Need a place to start? October is Healthy Workplace Month. Think about how you can create supportive environments by nurturing your relationships and connections across campus.
All my best,
By Melissa Lafrance on October 5, 2016
Food is one of the most basic needs for our survival and health, but it is also involves sharing, celebrating, demonstrating our care for others, and supporting our rituals and traditions. Food and social interactions often go hand and hand.
Each week in October, we will be sharing tips, tricks, and information to stay well while being social! Become a UBC Health Contact to receive weekly reminders, tips and tricks.
Studies show a strong relationship between workplaces’ physical and social environments and employee health behaviours. A lot of our waking hours are spent at work, which can involve meetings and social gatherings.
Try these tips and recipes to consider while at work:
Bringing your own lunch to work, try these recipes:
What should you bring? Try these re-imagined classic dishes you can serve at a potluck or social event.
- Layered Mexican Dip
- Lightened up Guacamole and Chips
- Zucchini Lentil Fritters with Dill Sour Cream
- Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Curry Mayo
Take advantage of social opportunities that involve food in our communities:
- Farm Market at UBC
- Events Calendar – Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm
- Vancouver Farmers Markets
Social groups can highly influence our behaviours, including food choices. While social gatherings often promote indulgence, they can also involve consuming healthier options. Remember, the choice is yours to make.