What is social wellness?
Social wellness is the ability to form and maintain relationships with others. It is the ability to relate, connect, and interact with other people. You work to establish and maintain positive, meaningful relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. You use good communications skills, respect yourself and others, and build a personal support system. It’s also the ability to maintaining your health within and outside of those relationships.
Research has shown that people who do have healthy relationships and good support systems have better overall mood, deal better with stress and actually have increased self-esteem
Practicing social wellness involves proactively communicating with others when we are in need, and providing a listening ear and support when others need us. In this way, social wellness focuses on developing and maintaining healthier relationships with friends, family members, romantic partners, colleagues, or other members of your community.
Why is social wellness important?
The reason why social wellness is so important is that people with strong social connections respond better to stress, have fewer health issues, maintain a more positive outlook, and healthier lifestyle.
How can social wellness help me?
- Improve your overall health
- Promote mental wellness
- Reduce feelings of isolation
- Foster positive relationships
- Enable better self-care
What is Socialization?
Socialization is having companionship with others and participating within society. It is important because as we age, our circle of friends usually becomes smaller, it keeps us active, it improves physical and emotional wellbeing, it increases mental alertness, it helps reduce stress, it provides us a sense of belonging, and gives our lives meaning.
What Does the Research Say?
- Immune System: A 2007 UCLA study demonstrated that loneliness decreases the efficiency of the human immune system
- Blood Pressure: University of Chicago researchers released a study in 2006 showing that loneliness is linked to high blood pressure
- Brain Health and Memory: A 2009 study from the American Academy of Neurology confirms that people who are socially active may be less likely to develop cognitive impairment
- Physical Activity: Numerous studies demonstrate that social connections lead to increased exercise
- Depression: One of the most powerful ways to fight depression is to interact and engage with others
- Nutrition: Social isolation is a big risk factor for malnutrition
The Bottom Line
Humans need others to survive. Regardless of one’s sex, country or culture of origin, age, or economic background, social connection is crucial to human development, health, and survival.
Unfortunately, you don’t have to go very far to see the face of loneliness. It is everywhere.
- 3 in 4 Americans Struggle with Loneliness (U.S. News & World Report, 2018)
- Loneliness and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
- Lonely people are more likely to suffer from dementia, heart disease and depression (Valtorta, 2016)
- More than 8 million adults age 50 and older are affected by isolation. (connect2affect.org powered by AARP, 2019)
- 43% of U.S. adults, 60+, experience frequent or intense loneliness (Perissinotto, 2012)
Social isolation is associated with an increased risk for early death, cognitive decline, and various mental health conditions
Ways to Increase Socialization
- Participate in local or online group like WeThriveTogether.org
- Explore activities you are passionate about and meet people who like the same things
- Learn new skills
- Take a class
- Share a meal
- Attend Church
20+ Socialization Activities & Ideas
- Book Club
- Museum Tours
- Art Walks
- Going to the Movies
- Game Night
- Group Dance Lessons
- Pot Luck Dinner
- Outing for Ice Cream
- Picnic in Park
- Festivals and Concerts
- Craft Night
- Group Garage Sale
- Sports: Golf, Bowling
- Local Attractions
- Farmers Markets
- Online: Meetup.com, WeThriveTogether.org
- Singles Group
- Get a Pet
- Card Night
- Ethnic Clubs
What Studies Suggest About Happiness and Social Engagement
- People with friends live longer than those who only had contact with family, or who had very little contact with anyone at all
- People prefer to be around positive, happy people
GET STARTED TODAY: TO-DO LIST
- Declare your intent to think positively and be more social
- Call a friend who you haven’t talked to in a while
- Schedule a movie night, go out to lunch/dinner with a group, or another group activity
- Ask someone to start exercising with you
- Find a way to share an activity you enjoy with someone else