The power of connection to our own communities

The power of connection to our own communities

By Portarlington psychologist and Operation Transformation expert Dr Eddie Murphy

Recently two national events happened that were connected in a unique way.

Between the Ploughing Championships and the All-Ireland final nearly 400,000 people congregated. It gives insights into how people feel about their place and their people.

Fundamentally we are social animals, we all need connection. Feeling connected allows us to feel belonged, wanted and cherished. Isolation and loneliness cause despair and depression.

In psychology we call this social support, the belief and knowledge that a person is cared for and is part of a supportive group e.g. family, friends, neighbours, co-workers and community. Pets also provide social support.

With it comes friendship and practical and emotional support, the offering and receiving of concern, affection,empathy, trust and encouragement.

These are the fundamental building blocks to us growing and maturing in an emotionally healthy way.

With mental health, too often we talk about the presence or absence of mental illness, no, we need to be more proactive and promote our own mental fitness, and feeling connected is a big part in your mental fitness regime.

Psychological Wellbeing

Research shows that good social support has emotional health benefits.

It increases psychological well-being in the workplace and in response to significant life events, to reduce anxiety and depression and to promote psychological adjustment in conditions with chronic high stress including rheumatoid, arthritis, cancer, stroke, and coronary artery disease. Indeed individuals with low social support report more symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Physical Wellbeing

Social support is linked to positive physical health outcomes. Indeed people with low social support are at a much higher risk of death from a variety of diseases (cancer, cardiovascular disease). Having studied heart disease it is interesting to know that higher rates of social support are linked with faster recovery from coronary artery surgery and predicts less clogging of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and can slow the progression of cardiovascular disease.

The power of sport help us to connect.

Say Yes To invites

If asked to an event, say yes. Get involved or strengthen connections, such as friends, hobbies, volunteer groups, sports, social events.

brave new experiences

Find courage and get out of your comfort zone to let great things happen.

Find Passions

Whether a player or spectator, passions are critical to engage in life with joy and enthusiasm. What are your life passions?

My passion is our country’s mental and emotional health. I want new conversations about mental health. The reducing of suicides, the independence of those with disabilities.

Declutter your emotional baggage and overcrowded schedule, and take a risk to explore your passions.