As humans, social interaction is important to every aspect of our health. Research shows that having a strong network of support or strong community bonds fosters both emotional and physical health and is an important component of adult life. Over the years, there have been a number of studies showcasing the relationship between social support and the quality of physical and psychological health.
The reason why social wellness is so important is that people who have healthy relationships, and a strong social network tend to live longer and respond better to stress. This reduction in stress and anxiety results in a healthier endocrine system, healthier cardiovascular functioning, and an enhanced immune system.
A social support network is one of the greatest benefits to social well-being. You can turn to your support network for help when you are in a crisis of need. Your support group can provide perspective, insight, and assistance in situations that could have clouded your judgment. There are three types of support available:
Emotional - When someone's actions make it feel loved.
Instrumental - Something that isn't tangible, such as borrowing money or cooking meals.
Informational - Providing information to assist someone else.
Strategies to Improve Social Health
Start with Self Care
Before you can set out to improve your social wellness, you need to practice self-care. Look after yourself by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy balanced diet, exercising and removing any coping mechanisms like excessive alcohol consumption. Understand what causes you stress and how to not let it consume you.
Social interactions have been shown to improve well-being. It's important to make meaningful connections with family, friends, and romantic partners. Joining a gym or cooking class could help you make new connections.
Building healthy relationships
Once you have established connections, you need to maintain those relationships for the long-term. For total well-being, strong bonds are essential.
Although it takes effort to build bonds, having a support network can have many benefits. These positive relationships make it easier to have a good time and help you get through the tough times.
Get Active Together
You can make the most out of your relationships by being active together.
You and your friends can go on a walk together or prepare healthy meals. You will see a positive change in your mental and physical health by getting more exercise.
Make conversation using easy topics about what they like to do in their spare time, TV series they enjoy watching or the weather. Listen to their responses and if you have something in common, keep the conversation going by talking more about that interest.
Find a Community Group
Not everyone needs close friendships. Some people prefer plenty of low-key friendships and acquaintances throughout different areas of their lives.
One of the easiest ways to meet new people is to join a group. Find something you’re interested in, so you’ll have that in common with your new group. You could try volunteering or joining a youth group.
How Do We Measure Social Health & Wellness?
Reflecting on ourselves and our relationships is a great way to asses our social health. We can start by looking at the signs of good social health and assessing whether these apply to your life.
Signs of good social health include:
Balancing your social and personal time
Being your true self at all times
Engaging with people in your community
Treating others with respect
Maintaining and building strong relationships with friends
Creating healthy boundaries that help with communication, trust and conflict management
Turning to friends and family for support
It is vital to cultivate and nurture relationships in order to ensure your social well-being. Both should be mutually beneficial. Do you find yourself always being the one in need, or do you provide support? Your most important relationships should be prioritized every day, just as you would take care of a child or special pet. These are some tips to help you build a lasting relationship.
To show your commitment to the relationship, set aside a certain amount of time each week.
Respect and be open to the feelings, hopes, and dreams of each other.
Accept blame if necessary and avoid criticism of any relationship problems.
Do not try to fix someone. Focus on the positives and be supportive.
Appreciate others verbally and nonverbally.
Don't jump to conclusions, or react without seeing the whole picture.
Your relationships should be treated as an opportunity to give and not as a place for taking.
Don't compete. Be happy, not jealous of others' successes.
You may find that your relationship is causing you stress and draining your energy. If you're in a relationship with someone who is negative, critical, or engages in self-destructive behaviors, this can be a problem. If you are hurting, you must be able to give yourself permission for a relationship to end. You should feel comfortable with your social support network, not fear. There are many ways to start lasting and healthy relationships if you want to grow your social circle.
Consider joining a gym or joining an exercise club. Exercise with other people is a great way to make friends and break the ice.
Volunteering is an excellent way to meet people who share your passions.
Find an interest group that meets regularly to discuss their hobbies.
Take a class or go back to school.
Visit a house for worship.
Spend some time building your social support network. You can make new friends and strengthen existing relationships. Fostering these relationships can have long-lasting benefits for your mental, physical and emotional well-being.
Maintaining an optimal level of social wellness allows you to build healthy relationships with others. Having a supportive social network allows you to develop assertive skills and become comfortable with who you are in social situations. Surrounding yourself with a positive social network increases your self-esteem.