Putting a value on connection
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” – Brené Brown
I feel like I’m seeing the word “connection” pop up more and more frequently. Whether it’s in a conversation or the theme of an article, these mentions have one thing in common: they’re about connections between people.
This makes sense. We spent our pandemic days coming up with creative ways to foster connection. And now that more traditional avenues of connection are available again, it feels wonderfully nostalgic.
This got me curious: what is the tangible value of connection? I don’t think anyone would argue connections aren’t valuable, but for those of us who like hard numbers, here’s some data on why connections between people are important.
Social connections give us a mental health boost and improve our quality of life. Studies have linked social isolation to depression, insomnia, an increased chance of stroke and heart disease, and more.
Connections are important at work. A 2019 survey found that building close relationships with colleagues is the most important factor in determining job satisfaction. And if employees don’t have a best friend at work, there’s only a one in 12 chance that they’ll be engaged. Even though the state of work has changed dramatically since 2019, focusing on connection is still relevant and can help counter trends like “quiet quitting.”
Relationships are key to young people’s development. According to the Search Institute, strong, positive relationships in all parts of a young person’s life are linked to increased academic motivation, social-emotional growth and less engagement in high-risk behaviors.
So, the next time you have an opportunity to do something with your colleagues outside of work, spend time with your family, or engage with a new social group, embrace it as an opportunity to make yourself and the world a better place!