Connect for mental wellbeing
When it comes to our wellbeing, other people matter.
Evidence shows that good relationships - with family, friends and our wider communities - are important for our mental wellbeing.
Mental wellbeing means feeling good - about ourselves and the world around us - and functioning well.
Building stronger, wider social connections can help us feel happier and more secure, and give us a greater sense of purpose.
How relationships help our wellbeing
Human beings are social animals. Relationships build a sense of belonging and self-worth.
Strong relationships with family and friends allow us to share our feelings and know that we are understood. They provide an opportunity to share positive experiences, and can give us emotional support.
They give us a chance to support others - something else that is known to promote mental wellbeing.
There's also evidence that wellbeing can be passed on through relationships. Being around people with strong mental wellbeing can improve your own mental wellbeing.
Build relationships for wellbeing
Building relationships for wellbeing means:
- strengthening your relationships with people who are close to you, such as family and friends
- broadening your relationships in your community and the wider world
There are lots of ways to build stronger and closer relationships:
- If possible, take time each day to be with your family. This could include a fixed "family time" each day.
- Arrange a day out with friends you haven't seen for a while.
- Switch off the TV and play a game with the children, or just talk (see some tips on talking to children about feelings and talking to teenagers).
- Make the effort to phone people sometimes - it's all too easy get into the habit of only ever texting, messaging or emailing people.
- Speak to someone new today.
- Have lunch with a colleague.
- Visit a friend or family member who needs support or company
- Volunteer at a local school, hospital or community group.
- Make the most of technology - video chat apps like Skype and FaceTime are a great way of staying in touch with friends and family, particularly if you live far apart.
More steps to mental wellbeing
Connecting with others is one of five evidence-based steps you can take to improve your mental wellbeing.
Learn more about the other four steps:
- Get active for mental wellbeing
- Mindfulness for mental wellbeing
- Give for mental wellbeing
- Learn for mental wellbeing
Article provided by NHS Choices