Evidence shows that good relationships - with family, friends and our wider communities - are important for our mental wellbeing.
Building stronger, wider social connections can help us feel happier and more secure, and give us a greater sense of purpose.
Mental wellbeing means feeling good – about ourselves and the world around us – and functioning well.
Relationships improve our wellbeing because…
- Human beings are meant to be social. Relationships build a sense of belonging and self-worth.
- Strong relationships with family and friends allow us to share our feelings and know that we are understood. They provide an opportunity to share positive experiences, and can give us emotional support.
- They give us a chance to support others – this is known to promote mental wellbeing.
- There’s also evidence that wellbeing can be passed on through relationships. Being around people with strong mental wellbeing can improve your own mental wellbeing.
Build relationships for wellbeing by…
- strengthening your relationships with people who are close to you, such as family and friends.
- broadening your relationships in your community and the wider world.
There are lots of ways to build stronger and closer relationships:
- If possible, take time each day to be with your family. This could include a fixed family time each day.
- Arrange a day out with friends you haven’t seen for a while.
- Switch off the TV and play a game with the children, or just talk to them (see NHS choices website for some tips on talking to children about feelings and talking to teenagers)
- Make the effort to phone people sometimes – it’s all too easy get into the habit of only ever texting, messaging or emailing people.
- Speak to someone new today.
- Have lunch with a colleague.
- Visit a friend or family member who needs support or company
- Volunteer with us here at Visions Thurrock, or at a local hospital, community group or business.
- Make the most of technology – video chat apps like Skype and FaceTime are a great way of staying in touch with friends and family, particularly if you don’t live near to each other.
Connecting with nature just feels good. Nothing matches the feeling of serenity experienced when taking a quiet walk in the woods, listening to water flow over rocks in a stream, or taking in the enormity of a beautiful panoramic natural view. Obviously, in the moment, such tranquil settings do wonders for us. But does connecting with nature have longer-term effects by carrying over into other aspects of our lives after this exposure to nature? And how would this happen? Does nature affect our mood or our motivation to act in a positively social way?
Some other ways to connect more
Alcoholics AnonymousFind local meetings
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
Cocaine AnonymousFind local meetings
Cocaine Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other so that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from their addiction. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using cocaine and all other mind-altering substances.
Open ArtsVisit Open Arts for more information
Open Arts is a community arts and mental health project run as one of the charities managed within the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT). The project offers courses consisting of taster sessions in visual arts, drama, digital art and music with the aim of providing relaxing social arts groups that encourage new skills and confidence for people who feel they a mental health need and to carers.
Get a buddy to work an allotment with youHelpful resources for beginners
Taking on allotment is a great way to connect with nature and people! Taking on an allotment for the first time can be a daunting prospect, but fortunately there is an abundance of advice available. On this page, you will find links to a selection of websites that we believe are particularly helpful for the beginner, although every page on this website can prove invaluable.