In her blog in the New York Times, Jane Brody writes about her experience losing her husband Richard and how the following years has taught her about the profound need for social connection.
She sites numerous articles, books and studies that demonstrate the positive health outcomes of strong social ties. It is amazing to think that just enjoying time with other people can be as powerfully protective as eating well and exercising.
I live and work in Minnesota - a state with a reputation for being reserved. Transplants have often told me how hard it is to get to know people here. Happily we also have one of the most robust civic sectors with communities such as InCommons willing to address the issue of isolation.
In mid-April InCommons is launching a collaborative competition with Blue Cross Foundation on how to strenghen social connections. It will be cool to see what sort of solutions emerge.
It also occurred to me that if social connections impact health, they might also impact other aspects of personal and community well-being. When we are deeply connected to a diverse group of other people, it seems more likely that we would develop empathy and take action to address issues in our community. So perhaps one foundation of a true changemaker community is as simple as social connectedness.
Source: The New York Times