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Is a good friend really worth $100,000?

One of the great ironies of having amazing technology and social media at our fingertips is that we’re lonelier now [1] than ever before. In a 2018 study, the Australian Psychological Society reported that around half of us feel lonely at least one day every week.

In this edition of SuperFriend News, we explore the antidote to loneliness: connectedness. Humans are wired to connect. Social connections improve our brains and keep us healthy and well, with some studies suggesting that they are as important for us as food and shelter [2].

Some would say that connections are priceless, but economists have attempted to put a price tag on our relationships. Interestingly, they estimate that volunteering once a week equates to moving from a yearly income of $20,000 to $75,000 – and having a friend you see most days is like earning $100,000 or more each year [3].

I’ve been intrigued watching my colleagues and friends navigating new ways of connecting as we’ve continued to grapple with lockdowns, travel restrictions and social distancing. Personally, I prefer ‘traditional’ ways of connecting, but with COVID I am adapting. I’ve kept up my daily walking routine with a good friend nearby and enjoy in-person catch ups with friends and workmates, as well as video chats, video PT and restorative-yoga sessions, and good old-fashioned phone calls when in-person is not an option.

When connections break

Loneliness isn’t the only challenge to staying connected. Sometimes we face moments or seasons in relationships when things are tough. That’s why our Solutions team has developed our new Managing Challenging Interactions course. Designed to help you and your workmates navigate difficult, uncomfortable, and upsetting interactions at work, this online course equips learners with skills to face into these situations with confidence and resilience. Learn more

Wherever you’re at with your connections, I hope you enjoy this first 2021 SuperFriend News, and that it helps you foster and strengthen your networks.

Margo Lydon, CEO

1. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/social-isolation-and-loneliness
2. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/10/social-connection-makes-a-better-brain/280934/
3. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/10/social-connection-makes-a-better-brain/280934/

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