As the year changes over to the magical 2020, many of us are considering new priorities for the year to come. Although many may be considering some of the traditional targets such as weight loss, healthy eating, quit smoking or maybe a financial overhaul, The GenWell Project would like to suggest a resolution focused on spending more time with others. Spending more time with family has been listed as one of the top ten resolutions in the past, but our message is much broader than just family and may have more implications to your health and happiness than any of us would ever know.
Don’t be alarmed if you didn’t initially prioritize more human interaction in your top resolutions, as most of us are unaware of the importance of human connection in our lives. For decades we have been educating people about the importance of going to the gym, of eating better and certainly of stopping a habit like smoking. Most of us were never made aware of just how important building strong and healthy relationships are to our health. Up until the early 2000’s we were lucky to find that many of those connections and relationships just happened naturally. Now many of us are waking up 15-20 years later, especially since the advent of technology, and recognizing that something is missing. Maybe it’s the people that we used to spend time with. Maybe it’s the hobbies that we used to connect with others over, or maybe it is the purpose that we felt by supporting others that were experiencing challenges in their lives. When we spend less time with others, we have less opportunity to experience some of the most important aspects of life that truly make us happy, healthy and fulfilled.
So, here are the facts that you may not know…or maybe you do, but you just haven’t prioritized more human connection in your life due to other realities thus far.
- Spending time with others and the relationships that are created are the single largest indicator of happiness in our lives.
- Spending time with others can reduce anxiety and depression.
- Spending time with others can create greater empathy, compassion and resilience.
- Spending time with others strengthens our self confidence and our immune system.
- Spending time with others can increase your chances of living longer by up to 50%.
We mentioned that the target of those relationships can and should be much broader than just your immediate family. Let’s face it, if that is all that was offered up, many would struggle to find the supportive relationships we desire due to family turmoil, geographical realities or just a sheer lack of extended family. That is why The GenWell Project wants to let you know that healthy, supportive relationships, the ones that will sustain through the years and the ups and downs that we all face, can come from many places. We tend to have emotional bonds with friends and family, which we hope makes reaching out to those somewhat easier. Some of you may have colleagues that you work with who, as we spend more and more hours at work, may become people that we can connect with and build the type of supportive relationships that can get you through a long day or chat through challenges being faced outside the office. Finally, we all have neighbours. The people that we walk by, drive by, or ride by a few times a day or week and may not currently be taking the time to connect with. We know that nearly 70% of Canadians don’t have relationships with their neighbours and it often just takes one catalyst or excuse to make it happen. For many that catalyst is a crisis, but our hope is that The GenWell Project can be your catalyst to reach out before the next crisis so that outreach becomes seamless in the time of need. If you need a larger excuse and want to be part of the Human Connection Movement, maybe you can start making plans now to join Canadians from coast to coast this May 1-3 and make plans to get connected with those around you.
So, there you have it. Make your new years resolutions with all the passion and enthusiasm that that you can muster. Make time to get healthy at the gym and by eating better. Consider stopping some of the other habits that may not be contributing to your happiness and health. Then consider adding a little more human connection in your life. Maybe it’s about finding someone to support you through your early days of the New Year’s resolutions, maybe it’s about connecting with an old friend or colleague and signing up for that hobby that you have been meaning to get to or maybe, just maybe, it’s about reaching out to connect with and help others. Whatever you choose, we hope you find the relationships that you invest in rewarding, and the impact that you have on yourself and on others the greatest motivation to carry you through 2020.
Happy New Year! Stay connected.