When people refer to the concept of ‘social connection’, they are describing that feeling of belonging to a group of people and feeling emotionally close to other people.
Research and evidence tells us that it is a core part of the human condition; it is a fundamental psychological need that is essential to feeling satisfied with your life.
We are inherently a social species. Neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman writes that our brains are literally hardwired to reach out and interact with others. Our drive to connect with others is embedded in our biology and evolutionary history.
You will hear many people reframe ‘social distancing’ to ‘physical distancing’. The pandemic has undoubtedly pushed us to acknowledge the importance of social connection and to think about how we maintain strong social and emotional bonds with those closest to us, whilst being physically distanced.
In Daniel Goleman’s book Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, he writes “Resonant relationships are like emotional vitamins, sustaining us through tough times and nourishing us daily.” Social connections are vital for our happiness and health.
Like many educational institutions, organisations and services, Dunlea Centre adjusted their service delivery when lockdown was announced. The driving question has always been, how can we remain connected to our young people and families during this time?
Dunlea Centre strives to ensure all young people and families feel supported during physical distancing, and all aspects of the program are working from a wrap-around model to maintain regular contact in creative and purposeful ways. Of note, we are providing fortnightly remote parenting support sessions for parents/carers that create a space of belonging, connection and validation.
A final thought thanks to Daniel Goleman. Invest in resonant relationships and be sure to consume your emotional vitamins.
It’s more important than ever.
Clinical Services Manager,
Dunlea Centre, Australia’s Original Boys’ Town.