Kami the Romanian rescue dog - the importance of strong social relationships for wellbeing by Leanne Spencer

Strong social relationships: the new frontier of wellbeing

Those of you who are familiar with my work will know that I’ve been creating some new material around the power of social connectedness for healthspan. And I wanted to share my own story with you about how I came to recognise its importance of building strong social relationships.

Moments of connection

A couple of years ago I had everything dialled in. I slept over 8 hours almost every night; I only ate sweet treats 3 times a week. I did a daily 10 min meditation and exercised 5 times a week. My recovery was spot-on, and I had a fortnightly massage. I was crushing it.

And yet something felt off. I just wasn’t feeling as happy as I thought I should.

One morning I was walking in my local woods with my Romanian rescue dog, Kami. We walked past a family, with two toddlers, who approached Kami wanting to stroke her. Having checked with their parents, I asked the kids if they’d like to give Kami a treat. I showed them how to feed her by holding out my flat palm to her mouth, and then placed little chicken treats in their hands. One by one they both held out their little hands and she gently took the treat. The kids looked up at me and joy flooded their faces, and they stroked Kami again before rushing back to tell their parents what they’d done.

The look of joy on their faces stayed with me for the rest of the walk. Seeing their expressions and the brief eye contact was a warming feeling. That little spark of connection between me and them, and them and Kami was a beautiful moment.

That chance meeting was an epiphany of sorts for me. I realised this is what was missing; moments of connection like this one. As a result, I vowed to myself to notice and appreciate these opportunities more. The rest of the stuff is important, but real human connection is what matters.

How to cultivate strong social relationships

So, that’s what my new keynote is about – how you can cultivate strong social relationships and more human connection. Here are a few tips to get you started – and feel free to share this with your team and anyone who is interested. 

Examine your values

Values in this context are the code you live by. My value statement is to ‘live truthfully, considerately and to suck the marrow out of life’ (to paraphrase the poet, Thoreau). What about you – what are your values?

Uphold your integrity

Having integrity is doing what you say you’re going to do and above all, honour your values over other people’s expectations of you. This is critical. How will you demonstrate your integrity?

Determine your priorities

Prioritisation is determining where your time and energy will go. Does this match up with your values?

When we focus on values, integrity and our priorities, we are in a better position to connect with others and develop better social relationships. Better social relationships, both in a professional and personal sense, enhance feelings of belonging, connection and psychological safety, and they can be life-extending. Most companies have done a good job of sharing resources about aspects of wellbeing such as sleep, meditation and mental health. However, I think the power of social relationships will be the next big focus for HR and People Teams.

Interested in sharing this message with your team at our next event?

Our research tells us that HR teams are facing a big challenge post-COVID; how to foster a culture of belonging, connection and psychological safety. To address these issues, we’ve created a new keynote called BOND: the importance of social relationships and human connection (in the age of AI), motivating teams to create stronger social relationships for the good of their health and wellbeing.

To celebrate the launch of the new content we are offering a 30% discount for all bookings received in October (your event does not need to take place for another 12 months). Click here to book an event scoping call or call 0203 627 6010 to talk to one of the team. 

For more wellbeing content, follow @leannespencerkeynote on Insta and LinkedIn.

Take our Cadence Wellbeing Scorecard and receive a free, personalised report with actionable insights you can take into your daily life to optimise your health and wellbeing.

Interested in having Leanne speak to your audience? Book a free, no-obligation discovery call or enquire here: https://leannespencer.co.uk/contact/

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