As human beings we have a need to connect and socialise with others. Feeling accepted and part of a group harks back to the primal part of our brains, where not being part of the group would leave you vulnerable and at risk from predators.

Whereas now we are not at risk of being picked off if we are not part of a group, being isolated can leave us vulnerable to poor mental health, loss of identity or sense of self and even addition problems. Research has shown even our life expectancy can be affected by our relationships, with those reporting happy and fulfilling relationships living longer.

The festive period can leave people reflecting on their relationships or place in the world. For some this will highlight their feeling of gratitude for strong connections. For others, it can leave them feeling isolated, disconnected and alone.

So, how can we get the most out of our relationships? Or, how can we increase the connections we have? Leaving us happier, stronger and living longer!

Here are some suggestions;

1 / Show others why you care – The bond we have with others is unique to that individual. So, why not tell them why they are special to you in a personalised message in a card, email or text.

2/ Give your time to those less fortunate – Not only does the act of giving to those less fortunate help their situation, it gives the giver a warm and fuzzy feeling. It can also help you form connections with people from very different backgrounds from your own.

3/ Get involved – The festive period tends to bring communities together so why not get involved, your local carol service, panto or Christmas quiz. Just go alone!

4/ Get together – If you often shy away from organising events or being the host, why not step out of your comfort zone and step up. How about keeping it simple and inviting the neighbours over for something hot and mulled.

5/ Be your own postman – Rather than putting all your Christmas cards in the post why not deliver those locally to you by hand. Knock on the door and see what happens.

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