Skip to main content

Boosting Your Social Wellness

Jonathan Riley

Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher – Oprah Winfrey

If you want to pursue wellness in every aspect of your life, you cannot neglect social wellness. Social wellness influences almost every area of your being from your physical health to your emotional stability, and it is essential in determining the quality of your general well-being.

According to the University of California (n.d), social wellness refers to the relationships we have and how we interact with others. Our relationships can offer support during difficult times. Social wellness involves building healthy, nurturing, and supportive relationships as well as fostering a genuine connection with those around you.

Maintaining an optimal level of social wellness allows you to build healthy relationships with others. Social wellness involves communicating our needs, feelings, thoughts, and desires to those we trust, as well as actively listening with empathy when they share with us. It involves engaging in and enjoying positive interactions with others at work and in leisure, as well as developing and maintaining meaningful friendships, intimate relationships, and professional connections.

Signs of Being Socially Healthy Include:

• Having assertive skills rather than passive or aggressive ones

• Balancing your social and personal time

• Being engaged with other people in the community

• Adapting in social situations

• Being yourself in all situations

• Treating others with respect

• Being able to develop and maintain friendships and networks

• Creating boundaries in friendships to encourage healthy communication

• Having a supportive network of family and friends

• Making an effort to seek out and try new things.

Psychologists have long maintained that poor social support can have detrimental effects on an individual’s well-being. Isolation leads to loneliness, which has several adverse health effects like depression, decreased brain function, and chronic health conditions (University of California, n.d).

According to a Harvard study, loneliness can shorten a person’s lifespan by up to eight years, carrying a risk factor similar to that of smoking 15 cigarettes each day. In addition to this risk factor, isolation can also contribute to anxiety, feelings of sadness and depression, and health conditions like coronary heart disease (Novotney, 2019).

Social wellness helps combat isolation and loneliness because social relationships can help individuals face life and all its joys and sorrows with the help of others. Nothing combats the negative effects of loneliness like the presence of people who can offer love and support, celebrate your accomplishments, and walk with you through difficult times. Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system. Connection is an important component of social wellness and is necessary for your health.

According to Brown (2017) how we connect with others is critical to our own sense of health and well-being. We each need between 8-10 meaningful touches per day to be mentally and emotionally healthy. Social wellness speaks to healthy conflict resolution, social intelligence, effective communication skills, and the capacity to be truly intimate. Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system (Rodriguez, 2016).

Here are a few steps you can take to move toward social wellness:

• Practice open, honest communication of your needs

• Make a list of the elements that contribute to a rewarding relationship and ensure that you are providing these elements in your relationships.

• Reflect on your current relationships and determine which ones need improvement

• Schedule time to reach out to your friends, family members, and colleagues

• Be intentional with the time you spend with others

• Join an organisation, volunteer, or take up a hobby that expands your social circle

• Improve your active listening skills and practice empathy

As you take these steps, notice improvements within your relationships, and you can find yourself closer to achieving social wellness. Take some time to examine your current relationships and social needs. Your relationships with others and the community around you shape your mental, physical, and emotional health. If you want to take a holistic approach to health and well-being, you should prioritise social wellness.

Sources

BioNeurix. (n.d.). What is “Social Wellness,” and Why Does it Matter? Retrieved July 06, 2020, from https://bioneurix.com/blogs/blog/what-is-social-wellness-and-why-does-it-matter

University of California. (n.d.). Social Wellness. Retrieved July 06, 2020, from https://shcs.ucdavis.edu/wellness/social

House, A. (2018, June 11). 7 Ways to Successfully Cultivate Social Wellness for Life. Retrieved July 06, 2020, from https://www.optimumperformanceinstitute.com/life-coaching/7-ways-to-successfully-cultivate-social-wellness-for-life/

Novotney, A. (2019). The risks of social isolation. Retrieved July 06, 2020, from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/05/ce-corner-isolation

Brown, A. (2017, January 20). 8 Pillars of Wellness. Retrieved July 06, 2020, from https://certifiedcoachesfederation.com/blog/2017/01/20/8-pillars-of-wellness/

Rodriguez, H. (2016). Evidence for Social Wellness – Part 1. Retrieved July 06, 2020, from https://www.counseling.org/news/aca-blogs/aca-member-blogs/aca-member-blogs/2016/05/31/evidence-for-social-wellness—part-1