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The Power of Social Connection for our Mental Health

Canopy EAP

The importance of social connection became a global topic when we navigated lockdown during the COVID pandemic. However, isolation and loneliness are not new mental health concerns. Gallup reports almost a quarter of the world feels lonely. Research shows that loneliness is associated with elevated risk for a wide range of physical and mental health conditions.

In the workplace, loneliness often results in disengagement, lower productivity, and decreased performance. Lonely employees are five times more likely to miss work due to stress and report negative mental health symptoms interferes with their work.

Combatting Loneliness
Loneliness isn't just about physical isolation, it's a deep sense of disconnection from meaningful relationships. Chronic loneliness is linked to increased risk of depression, anxiety, and even physical health issues. Strong social ties function as a buffer against loneliness, fostering resilience and emotional wellbeing.

Remind yourself you deserve quality relationships. Prioritize quality relationships over quantity. Take the initiative to strengthen those quality relationships. Viable relationships include compassion, kindness, reciprocity, respect, and honesty.

Social communities provide support during adversity. Emotional validation and understanding from trusted connections alleviate stress and provide a sense of belonging. Find a community which works best for you, such as a spiritual or religious community, volunteer community, sports or hobby community, or mental health support group.

While social media offers connectivity, it can also foster comparison and isolation. Striking a balance between digital and face-to-face interactions is crucial for meaningful connections. Set timelines for online activity and attempt to understand how online activity could be affecting your perception of the world around you and yourself. Actively engaging in offline social engagement strengthens bonds and promotes authentic relationships.

Employers can reinforce social connectivity. Employers can demonstrate flexibility, offering health and wellbeing benefits which meet current and evolving needs, and cultivate initiatives which highlight the importance of psychological safety, diversity, equity, and inclusion in workplace environments.

The benefits of strong social ties are undeniable. Social interaction stimulates the release of oxytocin and endorphins, promoting feelings of happiness and trust. Prioritizing meaningful connections with others is essential for cultivating resilience and a sense of belonging. Genuine connections help us foster a positive emotional state which enhances our overall health and wellbeing.

Canopy EAP Canopy was founded in 1975 and we have been providing Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services since 1978. Canopy's mission is to support organizational success and improve quality of lives. Canopy provides member groups' employees and family members a comprehensive, full service EAP with a focus on customer service, technology, outcomes and integrated wellness. In addition, Canopy supports our employer partners with tools such as Wellness, Digital Therapy, Coaching and Training.

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