Written by therapist Zach Seifert
Social connection has the potential to change a life. As human beings, we have an incredible capacity to connect. It is important to understand how to use this ability to improve our health, especially as there are a significant number of factors that challenge our instincts. This is where we find increases in social anxieties, general nerves, or hesitancy to engage with others. Despite these challenges, engaging socially is helpful in so many ways!
Pursuing social needs
Staying connected can be hard at times as it takes a focused effort. We’ve adapted through the Covid pandemic into isolative tendencies, in most ways for survival, but ultimately, many of us got comfortable. We observed and experienced the loneliness that this adaptation provided, and have neglected our social needs, whether they simply gave us something to do or allowed us an escape from daily responsibilities.
Understanding your social drive
Building relationships and engaging socially can occupy a special and sometimes unexplainable place in our existence. It fills our tank like nothing else we have access to. Of course, there are differences among those who connect more with extroverted tendencies or introverted tendencies, but the science of personality backs engaging socially as a boost to our health capacity, regardless of personality traits. Of course, sometimes social settings can be a challenge to navigate, but the challenge of it can be extremely rewarding if pursued in healthy ways, such as using boundaries and recognizing limitations. At the very core of our being stands a social aptitude and drive to engage with others relationally, even if we can at times deny our need for relationships or lack confidence to do so, trying is key.
Socializing supports your progress
There are a multitude of ways in which social engagement feeds the soul, but how can it support our personal progress into the New Year and beyond? Simply, social engagement has the capacity to alter brain chemistry in healthy ways. From a personal health approach, communal interaction has supported physiological health over the lifespan. Research even shows that social engagement supports the overall health of the immune system. Engaging socially exposes us to healthy nerves and anxiety, stimulates critical thinking, and challenges our insecurities.
Put yourself out there
These social risks stimulate growth and allow exploration of an increasingly genuine sense of self in the search for self-actualization. From an existential perspective, relationships have been the basis for our species to survive; our reproductive capacity alone shows our reliance on social aspects of existence, ultimately showing how much we need each other.
There are basic biological, emotional, and psychological drives that prove social engagement is important to our growth and fulfillment. I challenge you to put yourself out there and try in this New Year! While it may feel risky, I think that is the point. There is no guarantee that any risk will turn out perfectly, but stretching those social muscles can help build confidence, find people who you can count on, and help to build that social foundation you deserve.
If making friends or engaging socially seems like a hurdle for you, please reach out. Don’t waste another moment asking yourself, “what if?” I would be honored to work with you on how to build your circle and harness positive relationships. Give our office a call today!