What Is Social Health? Examples, And 7 Tips On How To Achieve It.

It’s no secret that humans are social creatures and that social health is important. We need interaction with others to survive and thrive. In fact, our mental and physical health depends on it.

Research from the National Library of Medicine  found that social isolation can lead to a host of mental health problems, including depression, sleeplessness, and even suicide. Read more about this here: “Relationship Between Loneliness, Psychiatric Disorders and Physical Health“.

You could be eating the healthiest diet and exercising regularly, but if you’re not socially healthy, your overall health will suffer.

With the current state of the world, it’s more important than ever to focus on our social health. But what is social health?

What is Social Health?

What Is Social Health? A couple holding hands and walking into a festival

Social health is defined as “the ability to interact with others in a way that enhances individual and collective wellbeing.” In other words, it’s the ability to create and maintain meaningful relationships.

Social health encompasses everything from our relationships with family and friends to our connections with co-workers and strangers.

Research shows that social health can positively impact physical health, mental health, and even longevity. Sociologists have found that social health was a better predictor of mortality than smoking, obesity, or even high blood pressure.

However, social health is not all about having many friends or being popular on social media. It’s about having healthy relationships with the people around you and feeling connected to your community.

Examples Of Good Social Health

Among other things, social health includes:

  • Having a strong supportive network of family and friends.
  • Being able to communicate with others openly.
  • Feeling comfortable in social situations.
  • Being part of a community and feeling a sense of belonging.
  • Balancing your social and personal time
  • Adapting to social situations 
  • Ability to develop and maintain friendships and networks
  • Creating boundaries in relationships
  • Having fun in life  

Why Is Social Health Important?

While physical and mental health is often at the forefront of people’s minds, social health is equally essential for overall wellbeing.

There are many reasons why social health is important. For one, it can help to reduce stress and anxiety. When you have strong relationships, you feel supported and connected, leading to better mental health.

Additionally, social health can improve physical health. Studies have shown that people with strong social ties are more likely to lead healthier lifestyles and care for themselves. They are also more likely to recover from illness or injury more quickly. An article from the National Library of Medicine, Modeling Social Influences on Human Health explains all of this in detail.

Finally, social health is vital for emotional wellbeing. When you feel connected to others, you feel happier and more fulfilled. You also have a sense of purpose and belonging, which can contribute to a sense of satisfaction with life. In short, social health is essential for a happy and healthy life.

Effects Of Poor Social Wellness

Poor social health can lead to negative consequences. Numerous studies have found that social isolation and loneliness can contribute to physical and mental health issues.

According to one study published in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), socially isolated individuals are at an increased risk of developing severe health issues. The study found that people who reported feeling isolated had a 32% increased risk of stroke and a 29% increased risk of heart disease. To learn more, click here:
Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults.

Another study from the National Institutes of Health discovered that those with more social connections have healthier habits (such as not smoking or drinking). You can read this study by clicking through to Do Social Ties Affect Our Health?

To further see how deadly loneliness can be, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said that “chronic loneliness can have the same impact on health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

While social isolation and loneliness are not the same, they are closely related. Social isolation is a lack of social contact, while loneliness is the feeling that one is alone. People can be socially isolated but not feel lonely and vice versa.

Health issues linked with poor social health include:

  • Heart failure
  • Chronic disease
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mobility issues
  • High blood pressure 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Cognitive decline 
  • Dementia.
  • Cancer
Mental Health Vs Social Health: What's The Difference? A man sitting on the window sill

Mental Health Vs Social Health

For many people, the terms “mental health” and “social health” are interchangeable. However, there is a big difference between the two. Mental health refers to our emotional and psychological well-being. It is how we think, feel, and cope with stress.

On the other hand, social health is about our relationships with others. It is how we interact with family, friends, and strangers. Both mental and social health are important for our daily lives. A healthy mind helps us make good decisions, while a strong social network provides support and encouragement.

However, when one or both of these aspects of our health are out of balance, it can lead to problems.

How To Determine Social Health

Trying to determine if someone has good social health can be tricky. There are no blood tests or brain scans that can give us a definitive answer. However, thinking about social health in terms of our relationships can be helpful. Healthy relationships are built on trust, respect, and communication. They are also flexible and, both parties feel comfortable expressing their needs and feelings.

One way to determine social health is by looking at the number and quality of relationships a person has—the amount of time they spend interacting with others.

People who have healthy relationships with family and friends tend to be more socially healthy than those who do not.

Additionally, people involved in activities that promote social interaction tend to be more socially healthy. Some activities that promote social interaction include volunteering, participating in sports, and attending community events.

If you’re not sure if your relationships are healthy, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have close friends that I can rely on?
  • Do I feel like I belong to a community or social group?
  • Do I have difficulty making or keeping friends?
  • Do I feel socially isolated or lonely?
  • Do I enjoy my interactions with others?
  • Do I feel supported by a network of close friends?

Considering all of these factors make it possible to get a good sense of someone’s social health.

7 Tips on How to Improve Your Social Health

Nowadays, we’re all so busy with work and other commitments that it’s easy to let our social lives fall by the wayside.

It’s never too late to start working on your social health. If you’re feeling a bit isolated, there are things you can do to improve your social health. Below are seven tips on how you can start working on your social health today:

1) Talk It Out

Communication is key in all meaningful relationships, whether with friends, family, or romantic partners. If you can communicate your thoughts and feelings effectively, you’re more likely to develop strong, lasting, and positive interpersonal relationships.

Shelley Sommerfeldt, a clinical psychologist in California, says that “communication is important because it fosters trust and connection… In order to have an open, honest, and vulnerable relationship with our partner, we must be able to freely communicate in a healthy manner.”

However, communication involves more than just speaking. It also includes active listening, which means paying attention to what others are saying and trying to understand their point of view. When you patiently listen to someone, it shows that you value their opinion and that you’re interested in what they have to say. Honing your communication skills can help you build healthy relationships. 

2) Make Time For Friends And Family

Make Time For Friends And Family.
A family laying on their backs, on the grass.

When life gets hectic, we may put friendships and family relationships on the back burner. But quality time is crucial for maintaining strong social ties. Dedicate a regular chunk of time each week (or month) to catching up with loved ones – whether over dinner, drinks, coffee, or just a good old-fashioned phone call.

3) Join A Club Or Group

Some people find making friends a big challenge. If you’re shy or introverted, it may be helpful to get involved in a club or group where you can meet like-minded people. Find an activity that interests you: a book club, hiking group, sports team, or cooking class.

Doing something you enjoy will make it easier to meet people and develop rewarding interpersonal relationships.

4) Get Involved In Your Community

Get Involved In Your Community.
People picking up trash at a river and a man holding up a can, over a container.

One way to meet new friends and expand your social circle is to get involved in your community. Volunteer for a local charity or non-profit, join a neighborhood watch program or participate in city planning initiatives.

Not only will you feel good about giving back, but you’ll also have an opportunity to form new meaningful relationships with people who share your values.

5) Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out

If you’re feeling isolated and alone, it can be tempting to stay home and avoid social interactions altogether. But the truth is, the only way to make new friends is by putting yourself out there and taking some risks.

So next time you’re at a party or networking event, try striking up a conversation with someone new instead of hanging back and staying in your comfort zone. You never know where it might lead!

6) Be Present

When you’re with other people, make an effort to be present and engaged in the conversation. That means putting away your phone, making eye contact, and actively listening to what the other person says. This will make you a better communicator. It’ll also help you form healthy bonds with the people you care about.

7) Set Some Ground Rules

When it comes to socializing, it’s vital to set some healthy boundaries for yourself. First, ask yourself how much time you’re willing to spend on social activities each week. Then, decide what kinds of activities you’re interested in and commit to participating in them regularly. Let your loved ones know what you’re comfortable sharing about yourself and what you’d prefer to be kept secret.

There are plenty of other ways to improve your social wellness. Remember to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to friendships and relationships. Instead of amassing a large group of acquaintances, focus on building close friendships with a few people you can trust and rely on.

It’s also important to be realistic about your expectations. Socializing can be enjoyable, but it’s not always easy. You may have to put in some effort to find friends and build relationships. However, the effort is often worth it. Establishing strong social connections has been linked with better mental and physical health, so it’s definitely worth the investment.

The Negative Side Of Social Relationships 

While social relationships can have a lot of positive effects on our daily lives, it’s important to be aware of the potential downside as well. After all, not all social interactions are going to be positive. 

1. Bad Influences 

We’ve all had friends who were a bad influence. Maybe they convinced us to do things we knew we shouldn’t, or they brought out the worst in us. If you find yourself in a bad social setting, it’s crucial to be able to recognize it and remove yourself from the situation if necessary.

It can be challenging to know when to walk away from a friendship, but sometimes it’s necessary. If someone consistently puts you in situations that make you feel uncomfortable, it’s probably time to move on.

2. Toxic Relationships

Everyone has probably had at least one toxic relationship in their life. You know the type: it starts out great, but then something happens to change the dynamic. Suddenly, your partner is possessive, controlling, and negative. They may try to separate you from your friends and family, or they may make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells all the time.

If you’re in a toxic relationship, it’s important to reach out for help. You can talk to a family member, or a trusted friend, or seek professional counseling. Getting support can make a world of difference. A way to know if you’re in a toxic relationship, is to read up on Relationship Red Flags.

3. Emotional Drainage

People in close intimate relationships often have to deal with strong emotions, such as anger, jealousy, and fear. You may feel like you’re always the one giving and never receiving. This can lead to resentment and negative feelings towards the other person.

4. Time-consuming

It can be extremely time-consuming to maintain relationships. It’s common for people to spend hours keeping up with their friends and family members every day. This can lead to less time for other activities, such as work or hobbies.

Maintaining a healthy relationship can also be quite demanding and often require a lot of effort. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to get caught up in a never-ending cycle of trying to please others. 

Ultimately, while social relationships are an important part of life, we strike a balance so that they don’t take over all other aspects of our daily lives.

In Conclusion

It’s clear that social health is essential for a happy and healthy life. So make sure to nurture your relationships, stay connected with others, and find ways to feel like you belong. By following the six tips we’ve outlined in this post, you’ll not only improve your social wellness but will create a social environment that supports your physical and emotional wellbeing. Your mind and body will thank you for it.

FAQs

What Are The Factors Affecting Social Health?

On an individual level, social health is affected by personality, self-esteem, social skills, and dispositions towards others. External factors such as life’s challenges, economic status, and cultural background can also play a role.

What Are The Benefits Of Healthy Relationships?

Social health has physical, mental, and emotional benefits. When we have healthy social relationships, it helps us to recover from illness more quickly, and even lengthen our life expectancy. In addition, good social wellness helps build self-confidence, keep our brains active and protect against cognitive decline.

How Do You Develop Social Health?

Firstly, learn good communication skills. Secondly, spend time with loved ones and close friends. Thirdly, give back to your community by joining social activities or groups that interest you. Lastly, accept others for who they are.

What is Social Health?

Social health is defined as “the ability to interact with others in a way that enhances individual and collective wellbeing.” In other words, it’s the ability to create and maintain meaningful relationships.

Mental Health Vs Social Health

Mental health refers to our emotional and psychological well-being. It is how we think, feel, and cope with stress. On the other hand, social health is about our relationships with others. It is how we interact with family, friends, and strangers.

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