“Man is by nature a social animal.” -Aristotle
How we connect with others impacts our well-being and specifically our ability to survive and ultimately to thrive in life. In one study, married couples were randomly assigned to either a control group or to a treatment group, which received a superficial wound, and researchers measured how long it took the wound to heal. In the treatment group, researchers encouraged heightened social support and connection between the couples and found that participants recovered significantly more quickly than those in the control group, which didn’t receive the encouragement of additional social support. This tells us that not only do relationships help us with our psychological well-being but relationships are critical to being physically healthy as well.
In America now, many people are living farther away from their families and they are less engaged in their communities. Research has demonstrated that isolation and feelings of loneliness are on the rise. We often give really good attention to our diets or our physical fitness but we don’t give the same level of attention to our relationships. Therefore we must work to find social support.
Seeking social support has been linked to not only better social connectedness but also better physical well-being. It’s benefits range from having a longer lifespan, decreased likelihood of contracting a disease, better recovery from illness and overall better mental health. Good social support is not just relating to others but connecting with others in order to receive resources such as emotional support in order to help bounce back from adversity.
One way to connect with others is to look up to someone we admire to learn from as an example. So a role model is someone who inspires us to become better. We connect with them not just because they are popular or they are in the media but in identifying them as good role model, we are really looking inward and identifying an area of our life we would like to improve and finding someone to emulate. This could be a friend or a public figure that inspires us to develop and become better in a weak area.
So what do we need to look for in a good role model? The person should live in a way that is inspiring and that you would want to model your life after. Here’s a quote that is really empowering from someone you might find as a role model. “We can change the world to make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference. Tutor a child. Feed the hungry. Volunteer your time at a local hospital or community centre. Make the world a better place.” Nelson Mandela – words from a man who was in prison for 27 years and who stayed true to his conviction.
Seeking appropriate social support and having good role models are two skills that can help us to become more resilient people.
“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” – Thomas Merton, Love and Living
humor: What dogs makes the best cheerleaders? Pom-Pom-eranians!