None of us are immune to social isolation and loneliness, which can affect any person at any stage of life.
While the answers to loneliness may not be straightforward, having a variety of meaningful and supportive relationships and strong community connections can be life-changing.
According to research by Relationships Australia NSW and The Australian National University, “loneliness can be reduced by a whole-of-community intervention to increase neighbourhood identification.”
In fact, evidence suggests that engagement within one’s own community may also be beneficial in promoting resilience and protecting mental health during times of collective change or crisis.
But you can build engagement within your community any day of the year, whether it’s where you live, work or play.
Why not start by trying these 5 simple tips for establishing new relationships with those around you.
1. Start with a smile
Make it a habit to flash a friendly smile or say hello, even in stressful moments.
2. Strike up a conversation
Start up an initial conversation with a genuine compliment or question.
3. Follow up
Next time you see each other, follow up on what you spoke about last time. That person will then feel appreciated and listened to.
4. Offer kind gestures
Kind gestures and random acts of kindness are the ideal way to build positive ongoing connections.
5. Host an event
Organise a virtual lunch with your team at work and connect with them about all things non-work.
Neighbour Day, run by Relationships Australia, is a great opportunity to connect with your community and build on new relationships. The annual social connection campaign aims to support and enable sustainable respectful relationships across communities, while also helping to address loneliness across the nation.