Your monthly digest of health and wellbeing information that matters to you!
Getting social this Summer.
The frequency and quality of our connections with those around us, including family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, have a profound impact on our health and happiness.
It is in the company of others that we often experience pleasure, share jokes and joy, are given companionship, support, love and kindness.
Research has found that flourishing – feeling good and functioning well – is positively related to having quality social relationships. Strong social networks not only foster our wellbeing, but can act as a buffer against pressure and anxiety.
There are an abundance of reasons to carefully think about the quality and frequency of the connections we make with others. Here are three ideas to improve the quality of our interactions.
1) Give your complete focus and attention - Stop what you are doing and take a moment to truly make eye contact and focus intently on what someone is saying.
Far too often we float through interactions without giving people our true focus and attention. To demonstrate you are listening to someone, just give them your full attention, supported with lots of eye contact. For example, when a colleague comes up to you when you are at your desk, stop what you are doing, turn to face them (or stand up) and give them your full attention.
2) Respond actively and constructively - when someone shares good news, be interested, curious and engaged.
When we communicate actively, it shows our engagement and interest. Being constructive in our communication encourages celebration and shows our support. Next time someone shares some positive information with you, respond actively and constructively by asking positive questions. This enables the other person to continue sharing and savouring their positive feelings
3) Say thanks, genuinely - practice showing gratitude and appreciation for the work of your colleagues.
Giving thanks and practicing gratitude benefits not only you but those around you. Showing appreciation has been found to directly improve levels of positivity and the quality of relationships in the workplace. Studies have also found that generosity and gratitude is contagious. By giving sincere thanks and appreciation to a colleague, you in turn may encourage your colleague (or your colleague’s colleague) to say thanks.
Why not send a “thank you” e-card to a colleague in the University to recognise their hard work or contributions to a project?
A great way to meet new people is to volunteer. By offering your time at local community activities or charity events, you will have the chance to meet a variety of new people across many generations, who may have similar interests to yourself, or you may learn about something new!
Getting out of the house and spending time helping others can have an incredibly positive effect on mental wellbeing, promoting feelings of vitality, happiness and self-worth.
To find out about volunteering opportunities in the wider community, visit the Sheffield Volunteer Centre website: http://www.sheffieldvolunteercentre.org.uk/
The relationship between wellness and social relationships is not such as a surprise when you consider that as a species we are hard-wired to inter-connect. We have a biological need for social interaction and each time we positively interact with someone, the pleasure-inducing hormone oxytocin is released. This has a number of biological benefits, including reducing anxiety and improving focus and alertness.
The greater the quality, frequency and length of the connections we make the better we tend to function. This is applicable to all aspects of our lives, including work. In fact, our interactions with others at work may be the best way to reduce our levels of anxiety and pressure and improve our wellbeing.
So people, and our day-to-day interactions, really do matter. The Connect pillar of the “5 Ways to Wellbeing” is arguably one of the most important but also fortunately one of easiest to do something about - most of us will have the opportunity to interact with lots of different people on a daily basis.
At work, joining a staff network is a great way to meet new people who share similar interests and values to yourself. Staff networks are inclusive groups run by staff for staff, bringing together people from all faculties, departments and services that identify with the group. Staff networks fulfil various functions including providing opportunities for social interaction, peer support and personal development.
Click the links to the Staff Networks below to find out more about what they do, their upcoming events and to sign yourself up.
One of the benefits of education that we don't talk about as much as we should, is the interaction with other people.
professor brendan stone
“Modern society is becoming more technologically advanced and moving faster than ever. But for many people, it’s also becoming more isolating. For those with mental health problems in particular, loneliness is becoming an all too common reality. Unconventional education might provide one answer to this problem.”
In this powerful article, ‘Educating Society out of Loneliness’, Professor Brendan Stone talks about the power of education to combat loneliness, at any age.
To read the full article please click here.
As human beings we’ve always been social creatures, and we’re no different now. Who doesn’t love a good chin-wag whilst we’re doing something we enjoy? Taking part in group activities has huge social benefits; bringing people together in a community regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or religion provides opportunity for social connections and positive feelings of togetherness.
If you want to meet others who share your passion, why not have a look for some local community groups, or even better, why not set up a session through Juice and share your hobby with your colleagues?
Some of our colleagues have been in touch with Juice to share their hobbies and set up some sessions for TUOS staff to take part in – take a look at some of our new upcoming staff-led sessions below!
Board Game Café: What better way is there to boost our social wellbeing than with a board game? Board games require interaction with others, and whether that’s cooperation or competition, spending time with peers and friends with a fun environment is great for our health. From draughts to dominoes, and strategy games to card games, there’s something for everyone at our new Board Game Café.
Introduction to Aikido: Join the local Sheffield Aikido group to try out this dynamic and fast-paced Japanese marital art! Combining throws and joint-locks in play and competition, this unique and exciting sport is a great new way to challenge yourself.
Gardening Group: Keep an eye out for more information on our new Juice Gardening Group, coming soon...
If you have a hobby or interest you would like to share with colleagues through Juice, email us at Juice@sheffield.ac.uk!