Family and Friends Are Critical To Your Quality of Life and Well Being
Social Well Being can best be defined as our ability to effectively interact with others around us and create a
How to social Network.
support system that includes family and friends.
Social isolation or being alone, means so much more than just loneliness.
Steps to improving your social well being is first, disconnecting from technology (putting your smart phone down), improving communication skills, actually communicating, and evaluating emotional intelligence. Your social well being is reliant on and dependent on all eight life dimensions, and all have to be in balance with each other.
One is the loneliest number you will ever do. Do you know this song by the old rock group, “One Is The Loneliest Number?” The transformative power of social connection, is very evident when we’ve seen individuals light up when friends, or a love one holds their hand. We’ve all experienced the gratification of sharing kind words, listening to someone’s story, giving a smile to someone, which might be the only smile he and she sees all day. If you have been letting your relationships slide, or, feel lonely or isolated, stop and take the time to reinforce this critical part of your well being. It is vital for both your quality of life and your health.
Social Well Being
Social well being can be defined as our ability to effectively interact with others around us, and to create a support system that includes family and friends. It fosters connection with others, and contributes to a sense of belonging, which is important for optimal wellness. Wikipedia describes social well being as follows: Social functioning is the way people perform their social roles, along with the structural institutions that are provided to sustain them, in an effort to enhance overall well being for all. For more information from Wikipedia on social networking, read here.
Just like some people are born with great physical health, others seem naturally fortunate to have a large family and many friends. But, what if your social connections are limited? Can you have success being healthy and well if you have only a few relatives, or, just moved to a new city, or started a new job, any really don’t know anyone? Yes, you can, because social wellness is all about developing skills that will help you relate to others in a healthy and meaningful way.
If you’re feeling socially disconnected, you can learn ways to improve the relationships you have, build your support network, and make new connections. And, if you have a large social circle, there’s a lot to learn about the conflict management-setting boundaries, communication skills, assertiveness, respect for others, and your ability to balance your time between social and personal needs, and, are all part of maintaining healthy relationships. In other words, much of social wellness is learned behavior, and we can all improve on these skills to foster our social well being.
How important is social well being to our lives and our overall health? Some see it as a life-giving connection, “We can’t underestimate the power that we have as individuals to provide the support that others need,” said former U.S. Surgeon General Vival Murthy. Concerned about the opiod crisis, Murthy met with many affected people, and was impressed by how often they stressed the importance of social connection.
It is a known fact, that many individuals recovering in hospitals from surgery or serious illness, told him they would not have made it without the support of others, even if just one person that had given them support. Social support, says Murthy, can “provide that transition from a place of pain, to a place of possibility.”
What Is Loneliness?
Social isolation, or being alone, doesn’t always mean just loneliness. In fact, some people who are surrounded by family and friends feel lonely, and others who live and work alone don’t necessarily, feel lonely. Psychology Researchers, Julianne Holt-Lunstad and Tim B. Smith, from Brigham Young University, who studied the links of loneliness and social isolation to Cardiovascular Disease, define loneliness as “The discrepancy between one’s desired and actual level of social connection.”
That means that being alone doesn’t bother us, we aren’t feeling lonely, only when we lack of social connection do we feel the stress of loneliness. However, feelings of loneliness are very real. The health risks of loneliness are real too. Holt and Lunstad found that social isolation and loneliness increase risk of death by up to 30%, and they calculated it as a greater risk to health than smoking and obesity.
Although all of us feel lonely at times, this emotional state has been misunderstood. The lonely have been characterized as antisocial loners, lacking in social skills. Not wanted to be blamed for their loneliness, many people resist admitting to it, even to themselves. According to the University of Chicago, Social Neuroscientist John Cacioppo, PhD, that’s dangerous. Brain image studies show that loneliness places the brain into a survival mode state of hyper vigilance, and the negative effects, include increased harmful Cortisol levels, impulse responses, and fitful sleep.
Carioppo urges people to respond to feeling isolated, or other signs of loneliness, as they would to other biological indicators, such as hunger, thirst, or pain. In his book, “Loneliness: Human Nature and A Need For Social Connection,” Cacioppo explores a psychological component of loneliness that may have a dramatic implication for overall health. Studies show that lonely people have more trouble with self control. Therefore, someone feeling lonely is far from likely to overeat, eat unhealthy foods, or engage in other unhealthy behaviors, to feel better.
Studies on the impact of loneliness on physical health are alarming. Loneliness has been found to cause inflammation, and raise stress hormone levels, which can increase the risk of Heart disease, Arthritis, Type 2 Diabetes, and Dementia,. According to Lisa Jaremka, PhD, of the University of Delaware. Jaremka also found that people who are lonely may have suppressed immune systems, brought on by stress. A study by Holwerda and colleagues found that loneliness was definitely a risk factor for Dementia.
How Can You Improve Your Social Well Being?
So, how to social network effectively, is the big question. Although the implications of loneliness are disheartening, you can take steps to improve your social wellness. Here’s a few ways to enhance your relationships with others and connect to new people:
- Although technology has many positives and advantages. It is also can be a barrier to connecting with others. Make it a regular routine to disconnect from technology every day spend time in face to face communication with family members and co-workers. So, act, disconnect to connect.
- Improve your communication skills by talking with everyone whenever possible. Person to person is even better. Learn to use “I” statements, such as “I need to talk to you,” instead of “you” statements, such as “you don’t listen.” Consider taking a class in communication skills if yours need some improvement. So, act, and improve your communication skills.
- Volunteering can give you a sense of self-worth and connect to other people, or, consider joining a local group focused on an activity you enjoy, such as singing or knitting, or one you’d like to learn more about. If you are strapped for time, you can follow local community volunteer groups on social media, and ask if you can join in now and then. Seeing someone’s post on Instagram of tulips blooming in Spring that you helped plant last fall can help you feel socially connected. So, act, connect with the community.
- When you have a positive outlook, other people will enjoy being with you, and you’ll enjoy yourself. Place disappointments, complaints, and worries aside for a while, and enjoy the present moment. So, commit, and be positive.
- Are you sensitive to others emotions? If not, you may be missing signals they’re giving you about what they need from you as a friend or family member. Take an interpersonal skills test to find out areas where you can improve. So, act, and evaluate your emotional intelligence.
- Take time to bolster your family members and friends with a call or visit. Don’t wait for birthdays to celebrate; it’s always a good time to send a card or connect in person. Make a regular habit of complimenting and thanking people when it is deserved. The book “How To Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie, has great suggestions. So, celebrate and compliment your family and friends.
- Smiling, and learning peoples names is so important in communicating. Dale Carnegie once said “A person’s
name is to him or her, the sweetest sound in any language.” When you use someone’s name, you show respect and attention to what matters to them. Don’t be afraid to ask someone with a difficult-sounding name, how to pronounce it. So, smile, and learn people’s names.
- When you arrive on time you convey that you respect and value others. Don’t keep others waiting because it shows lack of courtesy and respect. Actually, if you get to work or somewhere else fifteen minutes earlier, you will feel less rushed and flustered, and you may have a minute to share a smile with a co-worker, or with someone you don’t really know, which can bolster both of you in a positive way for the day ahead. So, take action, and improve time management.
- When you model respect for others who may be different from you, you gain respect in return, or you have mutual respect, So, commit to building a culture of respect.
- When you make a plan of action to connect with others, and you commit to it in your calendar or day timer, you are more likely to follow through. Don’t just wait for it to happen. You can be proactive about your social wellness. So, take action on making a plan and committing to it.
- Studies show that successful couples name respect as the most important element of their relationship, valuing it even higher than communication. If you are married or in a committed relationship, show your partner loving respect. So, commit, and be respectful of your better half.
- Psychologist John Gottman, PhD, who was the Executive Director of The Relationship Research Institute, points out that most couples argue from time to time, as does everyone in a relationship, and that’s not necessarily bad. The important thing is to know, is the right way to argue. Relationships will thrive when people learn how to deal with conflict.
Be respectful when you have disagreements, by not criticizing the other person’s character, by being defensive or blaming others, or showing contempt for others, or threatening to leave from the argument, or ignoring the other, before a compromise has been reached, even if it means taking a pause to cool down. So, commit to arguing in a respectful manner.
Social Well Being and The Other Dimensions
If you have read my other articles, you will already know that all nine of the dimensions are inter-related and dependent on each other, and also have to be in balance with each other, in order to achieve and maintain overall health and well being. Some are more closely related than others. For example, your social well being is directly reliant on and also dependent on your physical well being, as is your physical is also dependent on your social well being.
If you are not physically healthy, by not eating the proper nutritious foods, you will not have the energy, strength, and stamina, to implement all the plans of actions recommended and required, to have a healthy social existence. Just like there are nine dimensions, and not just one, there is not just you, but many others, if you let them in your life.
It is vitally important to eat the freshest, whole, well-balanced, nutritious foods, and just as important, organic and GMO-free foods, you can get your hands on. And, fresh meats, either right off the farm, or from a specialty market. Search and find a local small farmer or specialty shop, because most of them only sell fresh organic and non-GMO foods, and buy fresh fruits and veggies from them, practically almost all year round (at least nine months out of the year).
Find a local specialty Shop, and a fish market, and buy grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, and fresh fish and seafood. Read this review WHAT IS IN MACA ROOT, for more information on specialty markets and their products. Stay away from fast foods, pre-prepared, precooked, pre-processed, pre-what ever it is. Plan at least one good well-balanced nutritious meal each day that you cook yourself, for you and your family, or friends.
Supplement your diet daily, with the best natural, organic, GMO-free, whole, healing food Adaptogen, Peruvian Maca. Your
body will jump for joy and thank you for it. Give yourself the assurance of being healthy, and the results will simply amaze you, because you will have the energy, desire, strength, and endurance, to be physically healthy, and you will function properly, in building your healthy social network. So, now that you’ve learned how to social network, are you ready to put a plan in place? Are you prepared to take action?
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If you have questions, or concerns, or comments, please leave them below, and I will get back to you. Thank you.