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Journey 2

Connecting with others


Do you know that the secret to living longer is social connectedness! Research tells us that being socially connected is vital to good mental and physical health. People who are socially connected not only live longer, they’re less likely to succumb to a variety of diseases. A recent study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience reveals the brain can process being socially disconnected as a survival threat, as humans have always relied on each other for survival. If cues that signal our connections to others are threatened or damaged, this may activate a neural alarm system. This, in turn, activates responses from our nervous system and hormones, which have negative effects on our health. On the other hand, having social cues that signal you’re cared for and connected to others may activate neural regions that promote health.

People who are experiencing mental health conditions and the wider impacts that come with this experience say that it can be difficult to maintain their social connections, let alone make new ones. Often people may not understand what you are going through and may even avoid talking to you about it. Although it can be more challenging for someone struggling with their mental health, it is becoming a more common experience for people in general. Many people often report feeling lonely and struggling to make deeper connections. If you are feeling this way, you are certainly not alone.

While it is certainly a challenge, we hope this page inspires and gives you some ideas and practical next steps for making new connections. If you have some old and current connections, we encourage you to nurture and make time for those who bring authenticity, kindness and fun!

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Want to learn more about why connection is important?

If you are on the curious side and want to know more about why social connections are so important to your mental health. You might like to check out these:

The National Center for Biotechnology Information

Advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. On their website, there is a paper that explores the concept of social prescribing – “The Connection Prescription: Using the Power of Social Interactions and the Deep Desire for Connectedness to Empower Health and Wellness”. To read this paper, click here.

Research Article: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review

The quality and quantity of individuals’ social relationships has been linked not only to mental health but also to both morbidity and mortality. To read more about this, click here.

Swinburne University of Technology

Has a research program dedicated to social connection! The research program promotes and measures social connection and its impact on people, community and innovation. Visit their website to learn more about their projects, news, and current events.

Don’t feel disheartened if making or maintaining social connections seems impossible.  You are not alone! It is a very common experience. If you are at this point, it sounds like you need a little helping hand.

Professional Therapy

Therapy can be a great way to work through your challenges with making social connections. A professional will use evidenced based practice to help you explore what is happening and provide advice on ways to overcome this. To learn more about professional therapy, click here


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Join Finding North Network

As a safe and secure online environment, the Finding North Network is for the exclusive use of those who understand mental illness firsthand. The Network is a forum for people to share their experiences, discuss ideas, and develop their voice in speaking to mental health issues in Australia. Join us!

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