A Care Package from My Hero Crate Can Help Provide It
Humans are social creatures. Sociologists and archaeologists have uncovered proof that even ancient humans lived together, hunted together, and enjoyed social activities. These preferences for socialization are thoroughly ingrained in our daily lives. They provide us with parts of our identity and teach us skills to lead successful lives. Having human connection is so vitally important, and for many reasons.
Joining the military can feel isolating, especially as deployments put unimaginable physical distance between soldiers and their families and other loved ones. Thankfully, part of being in the American armed forces is the camaraderie and team spirit among military branches and units. Discharging from the military, then, can be quite difficult, as veterans are forced back into the civilian world among people who don’t fully understand their experiences.
So, how can armed services members and veterans still get the valuable human connections and understanding they need when faced with a sense of isolation? And what does human connection look like? This month, My Hero Crate explores this important topic.
Perception of Human Connection
Depending on the environment you grew up in, your personal preferences, and your mental state, human connection may look different to you than it does to others. Data from university research shows that simply having access to a supportive person is sufficient to help someone adapt to stress — including stress of a new lifestyle.
In this case, there is no physical, ongoing human connection, but just the knowledge that it is available. Sometimes, people who are particularly independent need only this to feel connected. However, other people require more intensive interaction to feel a sense of belonging and safety. Human connection looks different to everyone.
The Benefits of Belonging
Having a support system and feeling a sense of belonging is not only necessary to human development, but it also helps our health.
The lack of human connection has been shown to be more harmful to your health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure individually. Connections also can relieve feelings of anxiety and depression and help us regulate emotions. When we feel a sense of belonging or that people care about us, we tend to have higher self-esteem. People who feel they have strong support systems, including friends and family, tend to have stronger immune systems, too!
Human connection can also help you live longer. A review of 148 separate scientific studies with more than 300,000 participants shows that those with stronger social relationships had a 50 percent increased likelihood of lengthier survival times. These results remained true across a number of factors, including age, initial health status, and cause of death.
Social connectivity and a sense of belonging also decrease the risk of suicide. Although quite a few factors lower the risk of suicide, one of these is connectedness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, connectedness is, “the degree to which a person or group is socially close, interrelated or shares resources with other persons or groups.”
Healthy relationships, friendships, and close family ties are proven to reduce the risk of suicide. This connection, then, is especially important for a demographic like military veterans, of whom 22 die of suicide per day and up to 30 percent suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Getting the Connection
So how can military veterans or current personnel get the most from their opportunities for human connection? Here are a few ways you may find appealing:
-Support groups for veterans
-Volunteer opportunities for a cause you support
-Living near or with a family member or other loved one
-Weekly family dinners if you live separately
-Participating in therapy with a counselor or in a group session
-Joining a club or enrolling in a continuing education class
-Working a job with supportive coworkers and bosses
-Choosing a hobby that requires interaction with others
Show Your Support and Caring with a Military Snack Box
For family members who are far away from their loved ones in the military, showing your support can help remind your favorite soldier that you’re there for them. My Hero Crate’s military care packages can help you do that. Select a care package of your choice, and we’ll send it to your hero, no matter where they’re stationed.
Order a care package today to stay connected to your hero.