10 Minutes

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Physical health and capabilities are frequently at the forefront when it comes to health and wellness. In fact, mental and emotional health has just recently become more widely discussed in society, despite the fact that mental health stigmas persist.

However, there are various factors that contribute to our total health and wellness, including physical, mental, and social health. Our wellness has spiritual, intellectual, vocational, and cultural dimensions. While mental and physical health is critical, social health has a significant impact on our overall health.

Social wellness is the result of a combination of factors, including the nurturing of not only yourself but also your relationships and the development of a strong mutual support system. Take the time to actively check-in and adopt some practices to maintain your physical and mental wellness.

The ties and relationships we have with others in the world around us are indicators of our social health and wellbeing. Sociable ties help us survive and prosper in today’s society because most mammals (and other animals) are fundamentally social beings.

It’s not simply about having a large number of friends. We could have 500 Facebook friends, but unless we have at least a few strong friendships, our support system—and hence our social health—will be lacking.

Social wellness includes:

  • Keeping healthy relationships
  • Taking pleasure in being with others
  • Developing deep relationships and friendships
  • Caring for others and allowing others to care for you
  • Making a difference in your community and society

So, what’s the big deal about all of these notions? Why is improving our social health so important?

Social Wellness Facts

  • People who are socially separated or isolated are more prone to illness and have a mortality rate that is 3 times higher greater than those who are not.
  • Under stress, people who retain their social and support networks do better.
  • About 20% of Americans report feeling isolated and lonely in their spare time.
  • Touching, caressing, and cuddling can all help you feel better.
  • Laughter is truly therapeutic.
  • When there is a lack of human contact, cholesterol levels rise.
  • Immunoglobulin A levels rise in loving, deep friendships (an antibody that helps prevent cavities and respiratory infections).
  • A robust social network can boost self-esteem and improve mood.

Several other parts of our health are affected when we don’t have a solid social system. In fact, social isolation and loneliness can have a number of major health consequences, especially as we age.

Loneliness is linked to increased rates of:

  • Suicide, anxiety, and depression
  • Stroke, heart disease, and heart failure
  • Early demise or premature death
  • Dementia

In reality, loneliness has been linked to death at rates comparable to those who smoke 15 cigarettes each day.

We need to work together as a society to find solutions to avoid social isolation since it hurts everyone. Loneliness affects not just the individual, but also their caregivers and loved ones, as well as the overall healthcare system in the country.

As per a 2018 nationwide study conducted by Cigna, loneliness has hit an all-time high, with over half of American adults indicating that they feel lonely sometimes or often, and 40 percent reporting that their relationships are not significant and meaningful and that they feel alienated.

However, it is frequently overlooked. Many people who are lonely are hesitant to confess it or ask for help.

The importance of identifying the implications of loneliness and raising awareness about the need to reduce and prevent social isolation enhances the likelihood of solutions being implemented.

COVID-19-related social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders have increased the negative health effects of social isolation and loneliness.

With the rise of telehealth, however, comes the development of potential social isolation remedies. Tele-wellness is a subset of telehealth that promotes our overall health, such as our social well-being. By allowing for sociability regardless of social distance, we can leverage live streaming technology and online events to keep us healthy for longer.

The significance of interpersonal ties is valued in social wellness. Through positive interactions with family, friends, coworkers, and romantic partners, the socially well person has and fosters a network of support. They can connect to and interact with other individuals in their surroundings, showing sensitivity and awareness of others’ feelings. Interdependence instead of codependency is the cornerstone of socially healthy relationships, which are built on mutual respect and trust.

The following are some of the ways to improve social wellness:

Look After Yourself

Although the term “social” in social wellness might lead you to think that it’s all about social engagement, self-care is an important element of living a good life. You can’t help others unless you help yourself first. Make time every day to rest, exercise, and pursue hobbies, among other things. You are not alone if you are stressed by caring for others. Seek support or join a self-help group.

Get Active As A Group

Physical activity with people is beneficial to both your physical and emotional wellbeing.  Exercising with others improves your health while also fostering community relationships. Join a neighborhood walking group, a nearby gym, or exercise courses, and interact with other families to enjoy active time together.

Establish New Relationships 

While maintaining existing ties is important, extending your social network and developing new connections give your social wellness a boost. Join a hobby club, learn a new skill with those around you, volunteer in the community, or do anything else that will get you out of your comfort bubble and introduce you to new people.

Develop Positive Relationships –

Social wellness requires strong and healthy interpersonal interactions. These connections might have an impact on your physical and mental health. Having strong, dependable relationships will help you grow and develop new communication skills.

Take Some Time To Think

What facets of life do you enjoy, and what things in life would you wish to change? Spend some time thinking about your values, emotions, and where you want to go in life. Greater awareness of yourself will enable you to articulate what you want in life to others and to spend time with people who share your beliefs and feelings.

Become A Member Of A Club Or Organization

Reach out and join a group or organization that interests you. Joining these organizations can help you extend your relationships by introducing you to new people who share your feelings and ideas.

Become A Better Communicator

Practice sharing your feelings, ideas, and thoughts with others around you. As a result, you will be able to be more assertive in your ideas, and others around you will gain a greater understanding of who you are and what you strive for. Furthermore, being a great listener and listening to comprehend others when they present their thoughts to you is critical.

Maintain A Positive Relationship With Your Children

The role of parents is critical. Raising children is both gratifying and difficult. Building great, healthy relationships with your children can be as simple as being responsive, consistent, sensitive, and available. Children learn how to handle their own moods and behaviors as a result of the strong emotional relationships they form. Children who have strong bonds with their caregivers are better equipped to deal with life’s problems.

Develop Healthy Behaviors In Your Household

Friends, instructors, and the things they see while they watch TV or use the Internet can all impact a child. If you are a parent, keep in mind that your daily actions have a significant impact on your child’s conduct. With your assistance, children can learn to develop long-term physical exercise and healthy eating habits.

Don’t Criticize, Pass Judgment, Or Apportion Blame

Self-critical thinking can easily trap people, perpetuating low self-esteem, contributing to melancholy and anxiety, and inhibiting social connection. No one wants to be evaluated, criticized, or accused, and if these interactions exist, it could suggest an unstable, potentially abusive relationship.

Own Up To Your Part

There are two persons in any relationship, and everyone contributes to any circumstance that arises, whether positive or unpleasant. In arguments or conflicts, take some responsibility for yourself by utilizing “I” language and don’t place all of the blame on the other person. When someone fights to be “correct” instead of trying to hear the other side, the other individual may feel rejected or unheard. This might lead to resentment, additional tension, and the breakup of the partnership.

Social wellness has been shown to be just as helpful as physical activity in enhancing mood and promoting cognitive, emotional, and physical well-being. The following are some of the benefits of maintaining healthy social interactions or social  wellness:

Boost Your Overall Health

Hospitals urge long-term ill patients to join support groups for a variety of reasons. Before undergoing some treatments or surgeries, patients frequently require a support system. Social ties, as per research undertaken by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, can reduce the risk of re-hospitalization and mortality 

While scientists are still looking into the long-term health benefits of sustaining social networks, it is obvious that those who have healthy support networks have positive health outcomes than people who have a “low number or quality” of positive relationships.

A strong relationship can provide accountability and encouragement to adopt healthy food and exercise habits, which can help with a variety of health problems. Family and friends can also provide the drive needed to push through the toughest portions of the healing process.

A better functioning immune system. According to studies, lonely people especially the elderly have higher amounts of proteins linked to inflammation and weakened immune systems, whereas elders with strong social relationships have a better functioning immune system.

Disease risk is reduced. Chronic diseases and ailments such as osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and even some cancers are reduced significantly in elders who engage in social activities.

Improvement in cardiovascular health. According to studies, isolated individuals have higher blood pressure, which increases their risk of cardiovascular disease.

Depression is reduced. People who develop and maintain relationships are less likely to suffer from depression, as social isolation is among the top causes of depression in the elderly.

Enhance Emotional Health

Having strong relationships with people has emotional health advantages in the same way that having a good network of support has physical health benefits.

Around 60 percent of American people say they experience everyday stress and worry, which has an influence on our general health. Receiving assistance from friends is an excellent method to reduce and manage anxiety.

Whether it’s through counsel, active listening, or more real means like contributing financial assistance or providing food, the people in your circle of relationships may help lessen the burdens that come with difficult times. This support might motivate you to persevere in your difficult position and make you feel valued.

Improve Mental Health

Since our brain health affects how we think and behave, it’s critical to keep track of and improve our cognitive health. Social wellness promotes mental health by assisting people in coping with sorrow and reframing negative beliefs.

Anxiety and sadness can result from persistent unpleasant thoughts. Communicating your emotions and thoughts with others is one of the most effective strategies to exercise self-care and overcome negative thoughts. Speaking with a trusted friend, therapist, or support group can assist you in changing your negative ideas before they affect your behavior.

Isolation promotes negativity, and while you’re alone, the difficulties you’re dealing with seem more big or insurmountable. Prioritizing social wellness is crucial since it aids in the development of tools and the ability to convey problems or thoughts that are upsetting you, as well as providing you with individuals with whom you may share your concerns.

Encourages Positive Interpersonal Interactions

As per a Harvard study, loneliness can cut a person’s life expectancy by up to 8 years, with a risk factor comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes per day. Isolation, in addition to being a risk factor, can also lead to sadness, depression and anxiety, as well as health problems such as coronary heart disease.

Because social ties can help people face life and all of its joys and disappointments with the aid of caring companions, social wellness can help individuals battle isolation and loneliness. The presence of other people who can provide support and love, exult in your triumphs, and stand with you during moments of pain can help combat the harmful effects of loneliness. The ability to connect is an important part of social wellness and vital to your health.

Aside from the benefits of getting assistance, providing care, supporting feedback, and connecting with individuals in your social support network have favorable outcomes. Helping others gives you a sense of success and fulfillment, decreases stress, and makes your community a better place.

Longer life expectancy. People who prioritize social relationships live longer and are healthier than those who are alone. Social connectedness has been demonstrated to be a powerful indicator of death in various studies.

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