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Social Health

Social health focuses on our relationships and connections with others.

A third of Americans experienced high levels of psychological stress during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and social distancing. 

This goes to show how poor social wellness impacts our mental health. In addition, socially healthy people tend to live longer and enjoy better physical health

However, in today’s fast-paced world, social connections are rapidly changing. Moreover, social circles are becoming smaller. 

People no longer prioritize creating social connections. However, you can’t improve your overall health without addressing social well-being. 

Want to learn more about social health? Learn what it is, signs of good, socially healthy people, tips for improving social well-being, and more!

What Is Social Health?

What Is Social Health?

Social health is our ability to form healthy interpersonal relationships with other people. This is the third pillar of our overall health

Primarily social well-being is dependent on two main factors. First of all, are you able to build and maintain relationships? These relationships can be platonic, romantic, friendship, professional, or familial. 

Secondly, are the relationships you build healthy, rewarding, and long-lasting? Your social well-being also depends on the quality of your social connections.

Also, your social wellness is your ability to navigate social situations and life’s challenges. Moreover, our social well-being indicates how well we can adapt to society.

A social health example can be how good you feel after hanging out with friends or conversing with relatives. 

Additionally, think about how sad and restless you feel when you haven’t seen family or friends in a long time. 

In essence, social well-being is our connection to others. When we have rewarding social relationships, you’ll feel more energized and motivated to take on the struggles of life. 

What Social Health Is Not?

Social health is a relatively foreign concept for most people. So, it’s also essential to learn what social well-being doesn’t include. 

Here are the common misconceptions about social well-being:

Mental Health vs. Social Health

People often think mental and social health is the same.

But mental health is our ability to manage emotions, thoughts, and behavior. On the other hand, social health is our ability to build, nurture, and manage our personal and social relationships.

So, while both can positively impact the other, they are not the same. 

Social Well-being Is Not Just About Family

Family and marriage have been considered the root of social relationships for a long time. But your social well-being doesn’t depend solely on those.

So, if you do not have a romantic partner or family, you can still build good social health. 

There are so many more rewarding relationships in society. For example, friends can become the strongest social relationships in life. 

You Don’t Have to Become an Extrovert

Moreover, social well-being also doesn’t depend on your personality. For example, if you are an introvert, you don’t have to force yourself to go out and party. 

Social connectedness is not about the number of friends or relationships you have but how socially connected you feel to them.

So, an introvert with one or two friends can be as socially healthy as an extrovert.

Social Health vs. Social Determinants of Health

Social determinants of health include neighborhood quality, financial wellness, healthcare, and education. You should consider these factors while moving to a new area or city as these have an impact on your health.

On the other hand, social health focuses solely on you and the relationships you build. So while social determinants of health are not something you can change or control, you can work on improving your social well-being.

Importance of Social Health

Importance of Social Health

Good social health benefits ripple in every aspect of our life. However, lack of social well-being impacts our physical and mental health. 

When you feel socially disconnected, you’ll also find your mental and physical health declining. 

Let’s find out the importance of social well-being on our overall health and well-being:

Impact of Social Health on Physical Health

Poor social health can be harmful to our health. A lack of social well-being can lead to 

  • Inflammation
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure 
  • Chronic Health Conditions 
  • Compromised Immune Systems, etc.

Then again, good social well-being is connected to reduced stress, improved heart health, and longevity. 

Positive relationships improve our cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune responses.

Want to know more about physical health? Check out Physical Health.

Impact of Social Health on Mental Health

Did you know that social isolation and loneliness can be more dangerous than smoking?

Yes, a lack of quality relationships can negatively impact our mental health. 

When we are socially isolated, we feel negative emotions more strongly. Moreover, anxiety, stress, depression, and low self-esteem creep in faster when you have no one to confide in. 

On the other hand, good social wellness makes us energetic and motivated. So, we can not improve our mental health without working on our social wellness. 

Want to know more about mental health? Check out Mental Health.

Impact of Social Health on Behavioral Health

Social connections with friends and partners can influence our behaviors. Positive relationships can teach us healthy habits. Moreover, these behaviors can influence our overall health in the long run.

Benefits of Social Health

Close social relationships impact our overall sense of happiness and well-being. Let’s check out some of the top benefits of good social well-being:

  • Better physical health
  • High self-esteem and confidence
  • Reduced stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Stronger immune system and lower cortisol levels
  • A positive outlook on everyday life 
  • More capable of handling difficult situations
  • Better brain health and stronger memory
  • More cooperative and empathetic toward others

Signs of Good Social Health

Signs of Good Social Health

You may already be doing what’s necessary to maintain good social health. 

Here are some signs of social well-being to help you identify if you’re on the right track or not:

You Are a Pro At Balancing Alone And Social Time

Good social health doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time with people. On the contrary, everyone needs some alone time and some social time.

For example, introverted people may need more alone time than extroverts. If you can keep up a good balance of alone and social time, it means you are socially healthy.

You Can Set Healthy Boundaries

Social relationships can sometimes become overwhelming. People can overstep your boundaries and make you feel worse.

So, it is up to you to set the boundaries without seeming aggressive. Additionally, you should not feel shameful or afraid of stating your needs. 

You Are Not Afraid Of Being Yourself

Social well-being requires authentic connections. Your relationships should make you comfortable to be yourself. 

They should give you a sense of belonging, valued, and appreciation for who you are. 

If you are confident in being yourself, it means the relationships in your life are authentic. So, you are on the right path. 

You Are Respectful And Empathetic 

People who lack quality social connections don’t know how to treat others properly. Moreover, they try to bring others down as that’s all they have experienced.

If you are respectful and empathetic towards people, it means your social needs are met. As a result, you feel secure in your connections and relationships. Therefore, you treat others with the same respect you receive.

You Can Have Fun

The pressure of adult life gets in our way of having fun. But not making time for fun activities can lead to poor social health. This ultimately leads to declining mental & physical health.

Do you make time for social interactions and playful activities with others? That’s a sign you value your social well-being. 

You Participate In Community Work

Volunteering at nonprofit organizations or community churches, are signs of good social well-being. 

Other ways of participating in the community can be:

  • Playing community sports
  • Helping out at kids’ schools
  • Volunteering at neighborhood events are all signs of positive social well-being.

You Have A Strong Social Network

No one can hold up the weight of the world alone. Sometimes we need shoulders to lean on. 

It’s great to have tons of friends. But you need friends who are there for you in tough times to be socially healthy. 

If you have friends, family, or partners who always have your back in difficult times, you know you are on the right track. So, value those relationships more.

How to Improve Social Health

How to Improve Social Health

It’s alright if you didn’t find all the signs of good social health in yourself. However, you can do plenty of things to improve your social well-being. 

Here are some tips to start your journey to good social health: 

Practice Self-care

Before improving your social health, ensure good physical & mental health. 

Self-care is essential for improving your social well-being. You need to be well enough mentally and physically to make quality relationships. 

So, get enough sleep, eat healthy, and exercise regularly. Additionally, try to get rid of your unhealthy coping mechanisms like smoking & drinking.

What’s more, meditation can help you connect with yourself before you go out there and connect with others.

Take Things Slowly

You don’t have to make serious conversations at the first interaction to form social connections. 

Moreover, if you are an introvert who finds it challenging to start conversations, start small. Start with small talk about weather and well-being to practice socializing. 

Additionally, you can also ask questions about their favorite foods, movies, hobbies, or weekend plans. Again, try to find common ground, and you’ll see the conversation flow freely.

Make First Move

If you haven’t gone out in a while, you have to make the first move. Because your friends don’t know you are finally ready to hang out.

So, reach out to family and friends. You can suggest plans for hanging out or meetings over coffee. 

What’s important is seeing the people close to you more often.

Join Community Activities

Don’t have close friends or family? There’s no need to worry. 

Joining community activities can be a great way to meet new people. So, join a group yoga class, cooking class, or your local church. 

Even if you are anxious about talking to strangers, start with a “Hello” and “Good Morning” with a smile. 

What’s more, there are many online communities you can join too. So, look up what interests you and start up the conversation.

Improve Communication Skills 

Many people struggle with communication. To make it easier, practice maintaining eye contact while talking to someone new. Also, be aware of your body language and pay close attention to the conversation. 

If the person in front understands you are interested in listening, they’ll be more likely to continue the conversation.

Keep Commitments

Sometimes we don’t feel like going out because everyone needs their alone time. 

However, if you always cancel plans, people will stop inviting you to outings.

Practice Gratitude

Show appreciation for your close relationships. Send thank you notes or even a text message saying how much you appreciate them.

When you make others feel valued, your connections grow stronger. So, practice gratitude whenever you can.

Focus on Quality Connections

Social media has made it easier for us to make new friends. But friends on social media don’t equal good social health. 

So, it’s essential to form genuine relationships. Please ensure they are quality relationships no matter how few friends you have.

How to Improve Social Health at Work

How to Improve Social Health at Work

Good social health is crucial in the workplace too. Why? 

Let’s assume employees in your company share a good relationship. 

This will make them less stressed, more productive, creative, and more confident. As a result, they will enjoy working more. 

In addition, good social health will make your employees more loyal to their coworkers and the company.

On the other hand, if your employees don’t share a cooperative relationship, achieving good results becomes harder.

So, to improve your employee’s social health, follow these tips:

Have Meals Together

Sharing meals is an excellent opportunity for employees to connect. 

So, try to ensure your employees are eating in the same area. This will allow them to socialize in a less restrictive way. 

Celebrate Events Together

Another great way of socializing with coworkers is celebrating special events together. For example, you can celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, reaching team milestones, etc. 

This will make your employees more connected and socially healthier.

Organize Non-work Meetings

You can take your team to a special outing or use coffee breaks. These non-work meetings will allow your employees to get to know each other better. 

So, create opportunities to socialize in a healthy way.

Group Wellness Programs

Organize game days and annual sports events. These occasions will encourage social health and improve employees’ physical health.

Cross-team & Department Gatherings

Especially in larger companies, different departments feel divided. To improve the company’s growth, you must ensure all the employees feel connected.

So, create opportunities for people from different teams to meet. For example, creating sports rooms, gyms, and meditation gatherings can connect teams in a low-pressure setting.

Impact of Social Media on Social Health

Impact of Social Media on Social Health

In this age of social media, most of our communication happens over Tiktok, Instagram, and Twitter. So often, to avoid feeling lonely, we turn to social media.

However, this can backfire. Because people often get caught up in comparing themselves and their lives to others. Also, relationships formed over the Internet may be superficial and shallow. 

As a result, instead of making people feel socially connected, social media affects people’s social health. As a result, many feel disconnected and depressed even with hundreds of friends online.

Social health is not just about building relationships. It’s actually about making authentic connections. 

Moreover, it is challenging to form authentic relationships over the Internet. Hence, social media ends up harming people’s social health. 

Moreover, social media also affects our mental health. Additionally, it leads to many mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and self-harm.

Friendships of Quality Over Quantity

Social health values quality relationships over quantity of connections. However, having thousands of friends and followers on social media doesn’t mean one is socially healthy. 

What you need for optimum social health is high-quality relationships. Relationships that enrich your life and lift your soul.

Moreover, humans are social beings by birth. COVID-19 has proved that humans suffer in isolation. As a result, we need to have close interpersonal connections to be socially healthy. 

However, video calls can help improve the relationships we already have. It’s not always possible to meet our closest people face to face. So, we can use social media to keep connected and feel socially healthy.

Want to know more about how to lead a healthy life? Check out these articles:

Mental Health

Physical Health

Spiritual Health

Intellectual Health

Occupational Health

Nutritional Health

Environmental Health

Fiscal Health

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