So what’s the big deal with making meaningful social connections? Well, actually it’s a very important factor to your health. Several studies have found a correlation between a healthy social life and physical health, mental health, healthy living habits, and even mortality rate. A word of the wise: having meaningful relationships with people you love positively affects just about every aspect of your life.
These positive effects are especially important when you’re living with a disability. As you’re adjusting to your condition and searching for ways to improve your physical and emotional health, having a support system in your life can be invaluable. Especially if that support system understands exactly what you’re going through.
So why wait around? Make today the day that you reach out in your community to make some meaningful connections of your own. And if you’re not quite sure where to start, here are four useful tips to get you rolling:
1. Start online—This is becoming the answer for everything, but seriously: Google it. Find out what organizations or online forums are geared specifically to your condition. Here’s an article with an entire list of organizations to get you started. You can also type the name of your condition and where you live to see if there are any local chapters for your disability.
2. Look for conferences—While you’re poking around online, be sure to look up conferences for disabilities. There are a surprising number of events happening all around the U.S. that are designed to spread awareness about conditions like yours and create a place where great people can meet each other. To get you started, here’s a great list of some events happening in 2015.
3. Call your local hospital—This is another easy way to tap into your local health community. Ask your hospital if they know of any groups in your area that support people with your condition. Notice boards in your local community center, your local library, or your doctor’s office are also a great place to find leads.
4. Search for service—This tip isn’t geared specifically toward disabilities, but service is another fantastic way to meet people. Visit your community website or ask around to find unique service opportunities. You’re sure to meet some great individuals along the way, and just between you and me, serving others is actually great for your health too. Food for thought.