Social Connectedness The relationship between social connectedness, resilience and wellbeing Stacey Rontiris Senior Programme Manager Tomorrow Trust Counselling Psychologist What is resilience? Overview How do you build resilience? What is social connectedness? Why is it important?
What does the research say? How can we build social connectedness? What do we do at Tomorrow Trust? What is resilience? Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors (American Psychological Association) How do you build resilience? There are many factors that can help build resilience including:
Having a positive self-image and high self-esteem Being able to regulate emotions and feelings in a healthy way Having really good communication skills The ability to solve problems easily BUT research shows that the most important foundation to building resilience, is having caring and supportive relationships both within and outside the family What is social connectedness? Degree to which a person has and perceives a sufficient number and diversity of relationships that allow them to give and receive:
Emotional support Information Material Aid Sense of belonging and value Foster growth These relationships can be: The family we belong to The friends we confide in The community we live in
The cultural traditions and history we belong to (groups) Why is it important? Central to human evolution: In earlier times society functioned as one large group Survival of the group depended upon social cohesion to hunt, fight etc. This link still remains ingrained in humans today Identified as one of the core domains of health and wellbeing Relationships give people support, happiness, contentment and a sense they belong and have a role to play in society Joining together to achieve shared goals which benefit each other and society as a whole Support networks for people when in need Facilitates access to opportunities, services and resources
What does the research say? Social connectedness can lead to a longer life Less likely to develop depression, anxiety etc. Less likely to commit suicide Play a role in reducing cognitive decline E.g. Alzeihmers, Dementia etc. Reduces stress Increased levels of happiness We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends Daniel Gilbert, Happiness expert at Harvard EVEN: increased levels in economic growth, reduced poverty etc. in countries How do we build social connectedness? Encourage caring and trusting relationships between students, staff etc. and assist with the building of the relationships through:
Workshops Networking events Activities Prize Giving & Award Ceremonies Equip students with behaviours that promote social acceptance including conflict resolution skills, diversity training etc. Create safe spaces where students can express themselves without judgement and connect with other students Volunteering Encourage students to volunteer with causes they are
passionate about Create volunteering opportunities for students Facilitate a space where students with similar passions can meet and engage on topics they are passionate about Interest Groups Create a safe space where students can discuss and explore difficult topics Develop groups for
students to join with others they may have similar interests with Social Media Create online groups for students at the same institution, studying a similar degree etc. Use Instagram, Twitter, Facebook to give students an online sense of belonging Especially useful for students who struggle in social situations Including the family:
Workshop Topics: -Gratitude -Conflict Resolution -Parent Tea -Graduation Part Open door policy: Volunteering Programmes: -Tutoring -Little Wings Events: -Walk the Talk -Tough Mudder -Interviewing staff
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