July is Social Wellness Month. Social Wellness refers to the relationships we have and how we interact with others. It involves building healthy, nurturing and supportive relationships as well as fostering a genuine connection with those around you. Our relationships can offer support during difficult times so take some time this month to evaluate your relationships.
Social support enhances quality of life and provides a buffer against difficult life events. Social support can take different forms:
- Emotional (sometimes called non-tangible) support refers to the actions people take to make someone else feel cared for.
- Instrumental support refers to the physical, such as money and housekeeping.
- Informational support means providing information to help someone.
Why is Social Wellness Important?
Healthy relationships are an essential component of health. The health risks from being alone or isolated in one’s life are comparable to the risks associated with cigarette smoking, blood pressure, and obesity.
Research shows that:
- People who have a strong social network tend to live longer.
- The heart and blood pressure of people with healthy relationships respond better to stress.
- Strong social networks are associated with a healthier endocrine system and healthier cardiovascular
- Healthy social networks enhance the immune system’s ability to fight off infectious diseases.
How Can I Grow My Social Network?
- Work out. Joining a gym or an exercise group allows you to meet new people while exercising.
- Take a walk with your pet. Starting a walking routine after dinner would not only give you another opportunity to be physically active, but it would also create more opportunities for you to meet your neighbors.
- Donate some of your time and hard work to a charity. You’ll feel good about the cause, and you’ll meet others with similar passions.
- Find others who share a hobby, such as hiking, painting, scrapbooking, running, etc.
There are countless ways to grow your social network. Consider your interests and hobbies, and then pursue them. You’re bound to find others with similar passions.