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How to become more socially connected

Social Isolator is an attitude that says you need to separate yourself from others for the time being. As humans we thrive best when we connect with others. We release oxytocin, often referred to as the ‘love hormone’. The giving and receiving of attention and love not only feeds our reward system but it also reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, making us feel stronger, happier and more resilient.

Although being alone can be helpful for reflection and recovery, it is only beneficial when it is a for a short time. Prolonged social isolation, with no beneficial gain, is physically, mentally and emotionally harmful. It triggers negative thoughts, emotions and feelings so the more you isolate yourself, the more anxious, depressed and low you will feel.

Here are some tips on how you can be more socially connected.

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1

Start a new hobby. If you’re finding work colleagues are too much for you right now, take up a hobby. This will provide social contact without too much connection. Maybe a new sport or taking up a craft?

2

Volunteer. Being kind to someone stimulates dopamine and serotonin, two chemicals in the brain associated with feeling good.

3

Connect with people. Smile at anyone who comes within two metres of you. If they smile back, you will feel connected inside.

4

Walk a dog. This can be very sociable as dog walkers love to chat, particularly if the dog is cute!

5

Use your diary. Schedule time in your diary to speak to friends. If you’re finding it hard to meet up, this at least keeps the connection going.

6

Don’t bottle things up. Asking for help and support when you need it is not a sign of weakness or ineptitude. Talk to a counsellor or help line. Try your GP or the Samaritans or Google for counselling services in your area if you’re isolating yourself.

Learn more about how to become more socially connected in my best-selling book, ‘How to Prevent Burnout’.

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