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7 Pillars of Positive Resilience: Connectedness

PEOPLE WHO HAVE STRONG CONNECTIONS ARE PHYSICALLY HEALTHIER, HAVE STRONGER IMMUNE SYSTEMS, RECOVER FASTER FROM DISEASE, AND MAY LIVE LONGER

Connectedness is the fourth pillar of Positive Resilience, the science and practice of developing mastery over our ability to not just cope with disruption and challenges but thrive and reach our full potential for happiness and success. Connectedness, maintaining strong positive relationships in all areas of your life, is critical as we cope with the impact of the pandemic.

Good relationships don’t just give you enjoyment and make you feel good. People who have good social connections are physically healthier, with stronger immune systems, recover faster from disease, and even potentially live longer1. They are also psychologically stronger, with greater capacities for thinking2, have lower rates of anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, greater empathy, and more trusting and cooperative relationships.1,2

As we value and develop our connections, both giving to and receiving from others enriches our lives, and a positive feedback loop develops of social, emotional, and physical wellbeing for everyone. 1

Maintaining a variety of positive relationships with others is one of the most effective ways to manage adversity and challenge. Giving and receiving support is critical to our ability to cope with difficult situations like those we’re currently experiencing.1,2

Developing connectedness

Increasing your connectedness involves both strengthening existing relationships and making new ones.

Start by mapping out your existing networks; where are they strong and where would they benefit from strengthening? Who is important to you? Find time to invest in building and maintaining those relationships. But beware – don’t overcommit or spread yourself too thinly!

Consider the variety of groups you are part of, both in and outside of work. Look for ways to increase the diversity of your connections – this will give you access to multiple opportunities for both giving and receiving advice and support, from different perspectives.

References and further reading

  1. Strong relationships, strong health, State of Victoria, Australia. 2020
  2. Build High Quality Connections, Jane Dutton, European Business Review, November 2014