Pathways to Wellness

conversation • connection • commitment

Connectedness

The number of friends we have, the extent to which we stay in touch with family and friends, our trust in neighbours, and our involvement in our community are all examples of social connectedness. Social relations connect individuals to each other and create a web of relations that make up our communities.

Strong social ties can have a direct and positive influence on the health of individuals and communities. People who enjoy strong social connections and maintain healthy relationships have better health and a higher quality of life, and contribute in positive ways to their communities.

Through social connections, we learn what others expect of us. Social norms influence our attitudes, beliefs and behavior when it comes to things from physical activity, work, school attendance, and volunteerism to kindness, non-violence, and generosity.

Unfortunately strong social connections can also have negative effects, especially if they exclude some groups of people from participating in community life. Discrimination – racism, sexism, ageism and able-ism – is harmful and hurtful to people  who are excluded, and diminish the dignity of all people. Gangs are another example of tight social bonds gone awry.

Social connectedness can give you a seat at the table, or keep you out of the room all together. By keeping our eye on the greater good, we can build healthy, inclusive communities where everyone lives in dignity, and everyone both benefits from and contributes to the well-being of all people.

Check out this video about how some Yukon men are helping to build healthy communities.

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