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Student Wellbeing

 

One of the most important external factors affecting our wellbeing is human relationships. Across all societies, family or other close relationships are deemed the most important, followed by relationships at school/work and the community (R. Layard, Happiness, 2011).

It has been scientifically proven that people with strong and broad social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. Close relationships provide love, meaning, support and increase our feelings of self-worth and confidence. They can help you feel valued and offer a different perspective on things. Broader networks bring a sense of belonging. So taking action to strengthen your relationships and create new connections is essential for your wellbeing.

Humans are social creatures, and building social relationships and connecting with people are a vital part of developing and maintaining good mental health. There's also evidence that wellbeing can be passed on through relationships; being around people with positive mental wellbeing can actually improve our own mental wellbeing.

When you are busy studying and juggling your hectic diary, it can be difficult to take the time to truly connect with other people, but there are a few things you can try to do regularly to benefit your mental health by developing your social relationships:

  • Smile at people, whether you know them or not
  • Talk to friends or family rather than emailing or texting them
  • Try talking to someone new, or someone you don’t usually talk to
  • Make an effort to ask how someone is feeling, then actually listen to their answer
  • Set some time aside to spend with your friends
  • Cultivate curiosity by asking questions and taking an active interest in what people have got to say – it can be transformative.

If you don't feel that you have many supportive friends or family members around you and are feeling isolated, there are other ways you can make connections. For example, you could try joining a club or a society, or start volunteering.