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In our other blog posts we’ve gone into detail about how we want to bring you some of the science behind self-care and explain why the little things we do actually make a big difference. We want to tell you about some of the studies that explain why being connected makes us happy instead of just telling you to chat with a friend or meet up for a walk (when restrictions allow, of course!) with no real idea as to why.

If you follow our Instagram page, then you may have seen our post about an article we found pretty interesting. It was about a Harvard Study that was conducted 83 years ago. Hear me out, yes 83 years is a long time, but that’s why the findings are so interesting. The study found that building strong community relationships helps us to live happier, healthier lives (even way back then). So, the notion that feeling more connected to those around us, in turn, makes us feel happier really isn’t anything new.

So, let’s focus more on connectedness and try to find a more recent study…

You might have heard of something called the CHIME framework (Leamy et al, 2011). It’s a conceptual framework that is used in personal recovery and in mental health, and whilst we want to focus on Mental Fitness, the framework is still very much applicable. C.H.I.M.E stands for Connectedness, Hope & Optimism, Identity, Meaning in Lifeand Empowerment. But that’s a whole can of worms, and we’d be here for hours so let’s focus on connectedness for today! Although, I’ll talk about the other elements in future blogs.

The Framework splits Connectedness into 4 subcategories (Peer Support, Relationships, Support from Others & Being Part of the Community). According to the study, these are the 4 main areas that help people feel more connected and aid recovery. Whilst we don’t want to go too deep and narrow just yet, we do want to encourage you to think about the things that you do (either consciously or subconsciously) that make you feel better. Chances are, you don’t consciously wake up in the morning and say to yourself I want to improve my connectedness today, but what if you knew that on days when you’re not quite feeling your best, being a little more connected will help.

We want to help you find a way out of the fog, a place to start when you wake up on cold, dark and rainy mornings and your mood is cold, dark and rainy too. Instead of just festering in that mood all day, try to improve your connectedness. Have a look at the subcategories above and pick something that you think falls into one of them, it doesn’t have to be complicated…

Peer Support: Simply, reach out to people like your friends, colleagues and neighbours. You could chat with a friend on the phone, organize a zoom group call or even just drop your friend a text and ask them how their day went.

Relationships: This one doesn’t have to be about a significant other, it can be family relationships too. Watch a movie with your partner, have a cuppa with your parents or do a jigsaw with the kids.

Support from Others: This one is for when you need to know you’re not alone. Have a look at people who inspire you, check out some Instagram profiles of celebrities you admire who have good stories to share (think inspirational stories, and heartwarming content) and try to take comfort in the fact that we’re all in the same boat and you’re not the only person ever to feel like this.

Being Part of the Community: Ok this one is a little trickier while we are in lockdown BUT there are still things that we can do in our community to help ourselves and others. Which sounds like a win win situation. Something as simple as buying a few extra tins in your weekly shop and donating them to the local foodbank can help you feel massively connected to your community. You could volunteer your time or even just ask a neighbour how they’re holding up during lockdown.

You may not feel like doing any of the above, and that’s completely fine. But, if you’re ever having a bad day, at least you know where to start when you are ready to take a step towards feeling happier. These blogs and updates may not even be about you, it might be about being able to offer help to someone you care about, and for us that’s invaluable.

We’ll talk about the other elements of CHIME in our upcoming blogs, and in the meantime if you find this mildly interesting and want some more info you can book some time or drop us an email.

Have a great week you lovely people!

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