rock-climber-helping-rock-climber-survival-mode
Rock Climber Helping Rock Climber Survivor Mode

Self-preservation is a behavior or set of behaviors that ensures the survival of a living organism.  What separates humans from any other creatures on earth, is we extend self-preservation beyond personal physical survival.  We live in extremely complex and interdependent societies, where people band together (social ties)in groups for mutual aid, protection and health.

Such groups include families, friendships, associations, tribes, clans, states, and nations and that is why it is so critically important to know How To Social Network effectively.  The members of these groups work together to help each other.  Since the group enhances the members’ chances of survival, group survival means personal survival.  The individual benefits by supporting the group, because the group reciprocates by supporting all the individuals in the group.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) refers to it as the “Attachment Theory”, when a group of individual band together for the benefit and safety of each individual in the group.  Secure people who form these groups, respond to threats either by relying on internal resources to regulate stress and to maintain high self-esteem and self-efficacy or by seeking concrete support from others or collaborating with them to regain safety and to restore a sense of security.

However, humans have developed societies that go beyond the needs of the present, unlike all other creatures on our planet, whose survival together is primarily for immediate needs like food and group protection from predators.  There are a few exceptions in the animal kingdom though, like squirrels and ants who actually store food for the future, which are 2 quick examples.  According to a study out of Canada, squirrels even store food based on value and scarcity.

healthy-social-ties-among-friends
Healthy Social Ties Among Friends

The human ability to think makes us consider future needs as well, and how the individual and the group can survive.  Of course, the human ability to think, which provides so many advantages for survival, carries with it a disadvantage, too.  Being able to think about the future means being able to worry about it as well.  There lies one of the problems of being human, worrying, resulting in a potential of having a negative effect on a person’s psychological health, according to the Center For Clinical Intervention (CCI).

Our ability to remember the past and project into the future means we may help total strangers, those that have no genetic relationship to us at all.  We can also imagine we or our children might need help in the future.  We extend this sense of obligation and return far beyond that of any other creature.  We don’t expect that a return will necessarily come from the specific person we helped.  We just believe that helping will result in help when needed.

Thus, by helping others, any others, we help ourselves.  Helping others to be helped is the foundation of human contact and social connection, but the health and well being benefits are far more reaching.  Or is it the other way around?  True happiness, research shows, is found in helping others.  A new study suggests that giving social support to others may benefit the giver more than the receiver on a neurobiological level.

The researchers used fMRI brain imaging to pinpoint three specific brain benefits of giving social support to others.  A 2016 study published in the Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, found that in our so called “dog-eat-dog” world, that often seems to be driven by selfish behavior, it’s reassuring to know that from an evolutionary perspective our brains are wired to feel rewarded more for magnanimity and selflessness than for meanness and selfishness.

people-helping-people-socially
People Helping People Socially

These changes within the brain help to explain why altruism and giving support has multiple health benefits. However, to the giver, it would be unbalanced to constantly be giving social support without the giver ever graciously receiving help, and vice versa.

Another 2015 study from the psychology department from the University of California Los Angeles, found that gratitude has very distinctive brain benefits for the receiver of social support.  So, actually what occurs is an “upward spiral” of well-being for all parties involved, where the giver becomes the receiver, through pro-social acts of loving kindness, generosity, and feelings of gratitude.

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.

friends-enjoying-singing-socially
Friends Enjoying Singing Socially

For more information from Wikipedia on social networking, read here.

Social Well Being can best be defined as our ability to effectively interact with others around us and create a safe and healthy environment for all.  However Social isolation, or loneliness, is just the opposite, according to the NIH.  The loneliness state in humans effects neural, hormonal, cellular, and genetic processes, resulting in:

The combination of immune suppression and pro-inflammatory effects may be especially caustic.  Together, these effects contribute to higher rates of morbidity and mortality.

One (Is the Loneliest Number)

“One (is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do)” (1).  Do you know this song by the old rock group Three Dog Night? Loneliness is real and can be devastating to your health and well being!  Loneliness is becoming an epidemic in America, well, actually over the whole world!  In a recent study of 20,000 people by the health insurance company Cigna, about 47 percent of respondents reported often feeling alone or left out.  Thirteen percent said there were zero people who knew them well.

Forty-one percent, or more than 9 million people always or often feel lonely, of Britons say the TV or a pet is their main source of company, and the U.K. has created a ­cabinet-­level minister to deal with the problem of rampant loneliness.  Surprisingly, according to Cigna, young people are actually most at risk of being lonely in modern society.

friends-enjoying-healthy-golf-game-together
Friends Enjoying Healthy Golf Game Together

In the Cigna study, Generation Z members ages 18 to 22 and Millennials ages 23 to 37 scored the highest for loneliness.  According to a new 2017 national analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine, young adults in the U.S. who use social media more frequently than their peers report higher levels of perceived social isolation.  Can you see what technology and isolation is doing to our youth?

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.

According to the 2015 study published in the Perspective Psychological Science, reviewed by the NIH, actual and perceived social isolation are both associated with increased risk for early mortality.

senior-citizens-enjoying-social-life
Senior Citizens Enjoying Social Life

That means that being alone doesn’t bother us, we aren’t feeling lonely, only when we feel a 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, even for the ones who don’t necessarily feel alone.  However, they are still at risk.  Even if you feel that you don’t need it, that does not necessarily mean that your body, from a biological human factor, doesn’t need it.

It’s a primal need.  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, backed by an NIH 2019 review, that’s dangerous.  Per the NIH, social relationships infuse life with meaning, whereas loneliness diminishes one’s sense of meaning in life.  Both loneliness and a reduced sense of meaning are closely associated with declines in functional capacity.  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.

couples-enjoying-social-gathering
Couples Enjoying Social Gathering

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.

The lethality of loneliness” video (2) with John Cacioppo is definitely worth watching.  Studies, like the one published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, and John Cacioppo was the head of, reported that perceived social isolation causes physiological changes that can make someone sick or die prematurely.  In fact, the researchers found that for older adults, perceived social isolation can increase the risk of premature death by 14 percent.

It appears 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. An NIH study looked at the link between loneliness and social isolation and cardiovascular disease. The study determined that there is an increased risk of social isolation causing cardiovascular disease, but, call for more future studies.

A Oregon Health and Science University 2015 study found that the mental health benefits of regular face-to-face social interactions can reduce someone’s risk of depression.  According to Lisa Jaremka, PhD, of the University of Delaware, people who are lonely may have suppressed immune systems, brought on by stress.  Dr. Jaremka said:

making-new-friends-in-large-market
Making New Friends In Large Market

Some physiological indicators show up almost immediately in stressful situations,

she said,

such as the rise in blood pressure that commonly occurs during a heated argument.  But other effects may develop over a longer period of time, including weakened immune systems.

A 2012 study by Holwerda and colleagues published in the British Medical Journal found that feeling lonely, as distinct from being or living alone, is linked to an increased risk of developing dementia in later life.

The Incredible Power Of Social Ties

The transformative power of social connection, is very evident when you’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.  A smile can bring a smile studies have shown. One example is a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, where participants were asked to frown while looking at pictures of people smiling. The results showed it was really difficult to frown and more likely the result was smiling by the lookers. 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.

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?

group-of-kids-socially-playing-games
Group Of Kids Socially-Playing Games

Yes, you can, because social wellness is all about developing skills that will help you relate to others in a healthy and meaningful way.  The NIH has a neat “Social Wellness Toolkit”, which involves 6 strategies for improving your social health: 1-Make social connections, 2-take care of yourself while taking care of others, 3-get active together, 4-band with your kids, 5-build healthy relationships, and 6-shape your family’s health habits.

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, which 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?  According to an NIH study, humans are wired for social connection.  Without social ties, distress emerges and health fails.  In this sense, social connection seems to be a biological imperative. Social ties influence health in part through health behavior, and this influence plays out across the life course.  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 Vivek H Murthy.

large-family-at-social-event
Large Family At Social Event

Concerned about the opiod crisis, Murthy met with many affected people, and was impressed by how often they stressed the importance of social connection.

According to Murthy, 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.

How Can You Improve Your Social Well Being and Social Connections?

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 number of ways to enhance your relationships with others and connect to new people:

    • Although technology has many positives and advantages, it also can be a barrier to connecting with others.  Make it a regular routine to disconnect from technology every day and spend time in face to face communication with family members and co-workers.  Steps to improving your social well being is first, disconnecting from technology (putting your smart phone down), improving communication skills, actually communicating in person, and evaluating emotional intelligence.
      people being-social-exercising
      People Being Social Exercising

      You’ll be doing yourself and your family, particularly your children a huge favor.  A 2018 ResearchGate study found that the overuse of digital technology has a negative effect on children’s development and health.  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, per a “Social Wellness: Nurture Your Relationships” paper. 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 help you connect to other people, and as it turns out, very healthy for you.  A 2013 University of Exeter study, volunteering can improve mental health and help you live longer.  Some observational evidence points to around a 20 percent reduction in mortality among volunteers compared to non-volunteers in cohort studies.  Volunteers also reported lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction and enhanced well-being.  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.
      respect-is-a-two-way-street
      Respect Is A 2-Way Street In Social Ties

      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 and be a lot healthier for it, according to tons of research, such as this Mayo Clinic review.  Positive people attract other positive people too, so do yourself a favor by stopping negative talk.  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 You Need skills test to find out areas where you can improve.  Sensitive people have some really amazing qualities such as feel positive emotions more deeply, are empathetic, more creative, and have potential to be great leaders.  If you are a sensitive person, benefits of being creative alone are amazing by itself, according to an NIH study, and many others.  So, act, and evaluate your emotional intelligence.
    • Take time to bolster your family members and friends with a call or visit or a “thank you”.  Don’t wait for birthdays to celebrate; it’s always a good time to send a card or connect in person.
      a-grateful-loving-thank-you
      A Grateful Loving Thank You

      Make a regular habit of being grateful and complimenting and thanking people when it is deserved because practicing gratitude also has tremendous health and well being benefits. Giving thanks, according to an Harvard Medical School study, can make you not only happier, but healthier too.  The book “How To Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie, has great suggestions.  So, celebrate and compliment your family and friends and live a life of gratitude.

  • 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.  If you have trouble remembering names like this writer struggles with at times, use the Carnegie strategy for remembering names, which is “LIRA”, or Look and listen, Impression of person’s look, Repeat their name, and Associate with something different about them.  Don’t be afraid to ask someone with a difficult-sounding name, how to pronounce it either.  Still not convinced.  According to an NIH study of a Biology class of over 200 students, students performance improved because they felt special when they perceived the professor knew their names.  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.
    benefits-of-healthy-social-networking
    Benefits Of Healthy Social Networking

    Also, being late for a meeting, or whatever, or rushing because you are going to be late, is not healthy.  This kind of lifestyle of “living in the fast lane”, or because you’re always late or behind on something, causes undue damaging stress on the human body. 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.  Studies show that not only does showing respect and generally doing good for others, build strong relationships, but also is very healthy, according to the British Mental Health Foundation.  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.  According to a Wake Forest study, while plans we haven’t completed can distract us, just making a plan to get them done can free us from all the anxiety.  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, according to a PsycCentral study.
    for-positive-health-and-social-be-eternally-grateful
    For Positive Health and Social Be Eternally Grateful

    If you are married or in a committed relationship, show your partner loving respect and you will receive it in return.  That respect should also be evident when you and your partner are apart, building trust,  as well.  So, commit, and be respectful of your better half.

  • Psychologist John Gottman, PhD, who was the Executive Director of The Relationship Research Institute and the New York Times bestselling author of “The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work”, points out that most couples argue from time to time, as does everyone in a relationship;  and that 69 percent of arguments are unsolvable, but manageable; and that’s not necessarily bad.  Trying to solve unsolvable problems is counterproductive, and no couple will ever completely eliminate them.  However, discussing them is constructive and provides a positive opportunity for understanding and growth.  The important thing is to know, is the right way to argue by managing conflicts.  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, but direct, manner.

Social Well Being and Some of the Other Keys to a Healthy Lifestyle

preparing-nutrient-dense-foods-for-social-event
Preparing Nutrient-Dense Foods For Social Event

If you have read our other articles, you will know there are many life factors which are interactive and dependent on each other, and there has to be a reasonable balance between each of the factors, 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 your physical well being, and the opposite is true, as well.

If you are not physically healthy, by eating the proper nutrient-dense foods, you will not have the energy, strength, or stamina, not to mention physical or mental health, to implement all the plans of actions required, to have healthy social ties.  It is vitally important to eat the freshest, naturally whole, certified-organic, non-GMO (non genetically modified), well-balanced, nutritious food consisting of lean meats and fish; low-fat dairy and eggs; whole grains and complex carbohydrates; fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds; naturally fermented foods, herbs and spices; and antioxidant drinks and filtered water, you can get your hands on.

Stay away from fast foods, fried foods, high-sugar and salt foods, prepared, precooked, processed, or pre-what ever it is, because they are totally unhealthy for you.  Plan at least one good well-balanced nutritious home-cooked meal each day that you cook yourself, for you and your family, or friends.  Numerous studies, like this Harvard Medical School study and this NIH study, have shown cooking at home has tremendous health benefits.

healthy-nutrient-dense-mediterranean-diet-ingredients
Healthy Nutrient-Dense Mediterranean Diet Ingredients

Here is the Breakdown: (A) For meals and a healthy lifestyle, eat fresh, organic, well-balanced nutrient-dense foods, such as grass-fed finished lean meats, fresh, organic, free-range finished poultry, grass-fed finished dairy and eggs (A); fresh cold-water or wild-caught fish and seafood (A); fresh organic fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, and seeds (A); and organic whole grains and complex carbohydrates, natural fermented foods, monounsaturated oils like extra virgin olive oil, fresh organic herbs and spices, and antioxidant drinks, infused water, naturally fermented red wine and beer, and fruit and veggie smoothies (A). And, reward yourself with a piece of dark chocolate for a snack! Yes, that’s right, dark chocolate, not milk chocolate (A)

Taking A Natural Whole-Food Supplement To Enhance Social Well Being

Supplement your diet daily, with the best natural, organic, GMO-free, whole, healing food Adaptogen, Peruvian Maca (A).  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.

For in depth information and documented studies of this incredible healing Peruvian Maca root plant, read these Reviews WHAT IS IN MACA ROOT? and WHAT IS STRESS RELIEF?

anti-inflammatory-black-cream-black-peruvian-maca
Anti-Inflammatory Black Cream Red Peruvian Maca

In both these reviews, you can also request a FREE e book THE SECRET SCIENCE OF STAYING SLIM, SANE, AND SEXY AFTER 40, and a FREE 7-night trial sample of JULVA.  Here is one example of a documented NIH study on the wide ranging benefits of Peruvian Maca.

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?  If you have questions, or concerns, or comments, please leave them below, and we will get back to you. Thank you.

(1) Cristina Sonnenclaire Video 3 Dog Night “One (Is the Loneliest Number)”
(2) Dylan Sheller Video

(A) Follow these links for more detailed information, more documented studies, and to purchase any of these incredible nutrient-dense foods.