Social networking is very popular, it’s the craze, as you know, virtually everyone is doing it, everyone is on Facebook, or Twitter, or any of the other social networks. I mean, who’s following who? Right? Although social networking on the internet is considered a form of being social and extremely popular, our focus will be more so on the old fashion type of “in person” socializing.
In-person social networking is the one that most people used to do more of before the world-wide web entered the picture, and the only one that is truly great for your health and well being. After you read this article, you will understand Why Social Health Is Important not only to you but to everyone you have close associations with. And, that’s not to say social networking is bad for you because it has it’s positives and negatives, according to a study published in the International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering (ResearcgGate).
The pros and cons of social networking on social media will be addressed in a future article. According to the National Wellness Institute (NWI), to define social health and optimal living, and ultimately, wellness, doesn’t mean only the absence of illness and infirmity, but includes the interrelationship and inter-reaction of many different factors or dimensions co-existing in your life and continually affecting you either positively or negatively. Quoting the NWI:
Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.
It involves a holistic approach in you developing your social well being and lifestyle, by making a variety of social connections. You goal should be developing a multi-dimensional, healthy, well-balanced state resulting in optimum living. To reach a well-balanced state of optimum living, the NWI concluded over a half century ago the following:
1. You make a conscious, self-directing and evolving process of achieving full potential in life…………. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it’s important to cultivate a culture of wellness around you, and also important setting life goals because it can have an huge impact on a person’s ability to achieve and maintain dietary and other health goals, per another NIH study.
2. You contribute to your environment and community, have better living spaces and social networks…… Social determinants of health, such as poverty, can be conceptualized as influencing health at multiple levels throughout the life course, according to the NIH. Another example is choosing urban green living spaces in promoting healthy living and wellbeing, per another NIH study. Wide-ranging research, like this NIH study, suggests that strong social ties are linked to a longer life. In addition, having a variety of social relationships may help reduce stress and heart-related risks.
3. You enjoy an enrichment of life through work and play, with it’s interconnectedness to living and playing… Enjoyable leisure activities, taken in the aggregate, and in balance with work, are associated with psychosocial and physical measures relevant for health, well being, and wellness, according to the NIH.
In another NIH study, conflicts in work-life (family) balance and overloads have consequences for health and well-being, family life, community engagement (social), and performance on the job. Work–family conflict negatively affects mental health, including depression, anxiety disorders, and well being. Employee performance and effectiveness suffers because of work–family conflicts, or imbalance, because of negative health consequences of those conflicts.
4. You develop a belief system, along with values, and develop a world-wide view……. A large volume of research shows that people who are more R/S (religious/spiritual) have better mental health and adapt more quickly to health problems compared to those who are less R/S, and this is particularly important with patients dealing with health issues. These possible benefits to mental health and well-being have physiological consequences that impact physical health, affect the risk of disease, and influence response to treatment. The NIH had this to say about developing a worldwide view in “Culture and Society”.
5. You develop self-esteem, self-control, and have determination and a sense of direction…… Adolescents with high self-esteem have positive feelings about their lives, and self-determination such as autonomy, competence, and relatedness, resulting in better health and wellness outcomes, per a NIH review. There is a close relationship among low self-esteem, suppressing positive emotions, decreased psychological adjustment, and increased negative emotions.
6. You are creative having stimulating mental activities, and eager to share your experiences with others….. Ongoing research, like this NIH study, confirms the importance of being creative such as participating in singing group programs, theater training, and visual arts, are good for health and wellness as one ages, by improving cognitive thinking, memory, and improving self-esteem.
Inter-professional collaboration, for example, occurs when 2 or more professions work together to achieve common goals and is often used as a means for solving a variety of problems and complex issues. The benefits of collaboration allow participants to achieve together more than they can individually, serve larger groups of people, and grow on individual and organizational levels, per another NIH study.
7. You have good behavioral habits, routine physical activity, consume fresh and nutritious foods, maintain strength and vitality, as well, as personal responsibility, self-care and treating illness……… You can reduce your risk for the most common, costly, and preventable health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity by making healthy choices, according to the NIH.
A healthy choice is exercise and the NIH confirmed that there is irrefutable evidence of the effectiveness of regular physical activity in the primary and secondary prevention of several chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression, pancreatitis, osteoporosis, autoimmune disease, and premature death.
A large body of evidence supports the utility of healthy dietary patterns that emphasize whole-grain foods, legumes, vegetables, and fruits, and that limit refined starches, red meat, full-fat dairy products, and foods and beverages high in added sugars. According to NIH, such diets have been associated with decreased risk of a variety of chronic diseases. One great example of a nutrient-rich diet is the Mediterranean diet.
Emphasizing patient responsibility, self-management and self-care, represents a promising strategy for preventing and/or treating chronic conditions, to teaching individuals to actively identify challenges and solve problems associated with their illness. It involves establishing a pattern for health early in life and providing strategies for mitigating illness and managing it in later life, according to an NIH study.
How Important Is A Social Network Or Social Ties?
Wikipedia describes a social network (or social ties) this way:
a social network is a social structure made up of a set of social actors, either individuals or organizations, sets of dyadic ties, and other social interactions between actors.
To get additional Wikipedia information on social network, read here.
What seems like an alarming trend, American are becoming less friendly, and have fewer confidents, especially outside the family, then ever before, according to a study published in the American Sociological Review. More friends are needed, not less, because friendship isn’t just about fun, fellowship and emotional health. I t’s about actual health and longevity, too. Being antisocial goes against our instincts.
Having social connections is in our DNA. In early humans, as hunter-gatherers, it was important to band together socially for common survival, which we covered quite extensively in our article “Social Health Definition”. Your social well being is when you have a sense of belonging, and feel included, connected, and supported in society. As we continue to define social health and well being, we define it as a lifestyle in which you enjoy strong, personal, healthy relationships, and because if these relationships, your life is enriched and so is your health, according to a Mayo Clinic study. It’s a recognized value system that you strictly adhere to.
It’s you practicing your traditions and customs of your parents and ancestors. Involvement in your own culture can be very rewarding, giving freedom to practice , interpret, and express the arts, history, heritage, religion, traditions, and customs, bringing you creativity and expression, and improving your life and health. According to an NIH study, a growing body of research has documented associations between social and cultural factors and improved health.
Being Sociable Adds Years To Your Life
Being social really can add years to your life, as an abundance of research shows. One study from BYU and University of Chapel Hill North Carolina, found that people who had fewer social connections, had a 50 percent risk of dying in the 7-year study follow up. Another 2017 study conducted at Brigham-Young University (APA), found loneliness and isolation can have a bigger impact on your lifespan than obesity.
Being Sociable Lowers Blood Pressure and Prevents Stroke
Research has shown, like a Harvard Medical School Review, having friends can lower blood pressure and inflammation in the body, reducing the chance of stroke and other brain damage.
Social Isolation Or Antisocial Detrimental to Immune System
According to a study at Carnegie Mellon University published in the journal of Social Structure, being socially isolated can negatively effect your immune system increasing the chances of getting ill. The study suggests that it is something about occupying a variety of social roles, like spouse, parent, co-worker, and friend, that promotes resistance to infection and getting sick.
Being Sociable Encourages Good Habits
According to a Mayo Clinic study, having friendships enriches your life by encouraging good habits and avoiding unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise, improving your health and well being.
Another study by the NIH confirmed friendships among children and young adults encouraged healthy exercise and physical activity, which benefited all, and can even facilitate the promotion of lifelong healthy habits.
Being Sociable Prevents Dementia
Being more socially active in your 50s and 60s predicts a lower risk of developing dementia later on, finds a new University College of London-led study published in PLOS Medicine and reviewed by ScienceDaily. The researchers found that increased social contact at age 60 is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing dementia later in life.
A 2018 study published in the journal of Biomedical Science and reviewed by the NIH, found that humans have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease if they are lonely and living in isolation. Another study published in journal of North American Menopause Society, found that grandmothers who spent one day a week with their grandchild or grandchildren, have a lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s.
Social Connecting or Touching Relieves Pain
A new 2018 study by a pain researcher at the University of Colorado at Boulder, reviewed by ScienceDirect, shows that when a romantic partner holds hands with a partner in pain, their brain waves sync and her pain subsides, illustrating the power and importance of “human touch” in healing.
Another 2019 study published in the journal of the International Association of Pain, found that social touch activates brain mechanisms responding as an analgesic in females, reducing pain. Social touch affects core brain processes that contribute to pain and pain-related affective distress in females.
Why Social Health Is Important and Why certain Activities Promote It
Being optimistic and surrounding yourself with positive family and friends, or maintaining a positive attitude about yourself and others and surroundings, and associating with like-minded people, goes a long way in keeping you in natural balance and socially healthy. When all of your life factors (dimensions) are in balance, you will be much better equipped to deal with life’s stresses and challenges. As you know, not all stress is considered bad, however, if you are experiencing any imbalance and prolonged, even good stress can tend to overwhelm you, at times.
Inability to deal with stress can affect you physically, mentally, and emotionally, and could manifest in symptoms such as insomnia, digestive problems, depression, and heart disease, to name only a few. Research, such as an NIH study, has found a link between an upbeat mental state and improved health, including lower blood pressure, reduced risk for heart disease, healthier weight, better blood sugar levels, and longer life.
Experiencing Nature When Being Social With Family and Close Friends
As a human being you were born to socialize and interreact with other people, and to belong, to be part of a family, a circle of close friends, member of clubs, teams, and organizations. How do you improve on your social relationships? Here’s something really simple you can do.
Invite your spouse, your child or children, your close friend or friends for a walk down a wooded trail, up a mountain, around a lake, on a boat out in the water doing some swimming, or fishing, or whatever, as long as it is out in nature some where, and relax and communicate. Viewing or experiencing nature has been repeatedly demonstrated to provide a range of benefits for human health and well-being by reducing stress and anxiety, shorter hospital stays, lower heart rate, and directed attention and concentration, as demonstrated in one of many studies by the NIH on the social and health benefits of nature.
Get back to nature. Take your shoes off and walk bare-footed on the grass or in the dirt, or get your hands dirty by planting a tree or a flowering plant, or do some gardening. According to research by the NIH, “grounding”, or electrically conductive contact of the human body with the surface of the Earth produces intriguing effects on physiology and health.
Such positive effects relate to inflammation, immune responses, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Get out camping and talk to nature’s inhabitants, or smell the wildflowers, which will help you to reflect on the much larger picture, because you will come to the realization you are only a small part of something much greater.
Experience and cherish your amazing and restorative sense of social well being, your feeling of optimum health, from your nature experience, by simply taking your family and dogs for a walk. Visit the great outdoors frequently, and especially when you are feeling unwanted stress. Enjoy the peacefulness and quiet of nature, and the other inhabitants of nature such as watching birds in your backyard.
Break away from the technical, complicated side of your life, by leaving your cell phones at home or in the car when you are enjoying the outside. Or join a club or a group, or an organization having similar interests as you. Plan and cook outdoors, healthy regular family dinner meals, at a specific time and have them at your kitchen table, or picnic table, not only for better nutrition, but also socially with better quality family-time together, for the benefit of adolescents, as per an NIH study.
There is a positive relationship between frequent family meals and increased self-esteem in adolescents. No cell phones allowed at table and everyone present. No exceptions. If you don’t have a family, experience it with close friends.
In Social Situations Be Kind and Considerate
Make an effort to be kind, considerate, compassionate, forgiving, grateful, and less judgmental. It’s easier than you think. It just takes a little effort and understanding. Here is a couple good reads on being grateful: “Benefits In Gratefulness” and “How To Live Life In Gratitude”.
When you exhibit these wonderful qualities to others, you will be amazed and probably surprised, because, it will most likely be given back to you, through consideration and with compassion by others. You may be easily forgiven, or given the benefit of doubt, even trusted. One NIH study showed performing three acts of kindness per week over the course of 4 weeks improved not only well-being in students, but also students who performed kind acts experienced significantly bigger increases in peer acceptance.
If you are all alone, learn to meditate and a deep-breathing exercise, to relax, according to the NIH. If you are a Christian, read scriptures, or even try singing. Yes, singing, singing releases natural endorphins in the brain, bringing you energy, joy, peace, and tranquility, and it’s terrific for establishing close social ties (choir), as well.
Use Your Talents and Fun Activities In Social Settings
A balanced social well being means having a satisfying, meaningful, and rewarding occupation and family life for physical and mental health per an NIH study. It means being a good and responsible parent, or a trusting good friend. It means having hobbies and interests which are enjoyable and rewarding to you, and also suitable to your skills and talents. According to an NIH study, there is an association of participating in enjoyable, sociable leisure activities with psychological and physical well being.
Keep Mentally and Physically Active In Social Settings
Always be willing to learn something new, and don’t ever be afraid of openly communicating, because it will prevent misunderstandings and disagreements. According to the NIH, by keeping your body physically active and your mind mentally alert, you will have good memory and recall, because you will be relatively free of cognitive disorders, particularly as you age.
Participate in creative activities, always seek new knowledge and instruction, and remain open-minded to others and the others’ opinions and observations. The NIH confirmed the positive benefits of using creativity in increasing knowledge and constructive behaviors. We didn’t say you had to agree with others’ opinions or observations, you may not? But, you can at least give the time to listen and give it consideration. Who knows, you might even get a revelation, and a new perspective.
Eat Fresh Certified Organic Nutrient-Dense Foods
When you take back control of your own life by eating the proper nutritious diet, you have realized Why Social Health Is Important. Feeling physically ill and mentally stressed from eating unhealthy convenience foods, can prevent you from not only enjoying healthy social well being, but overall health and well being. Eliminate or at least reduce eating convenience foods such as unhealthy processed or refined foods, or precooked foods, high-sugar, processed meats, or high-sodium foods, fried foods, or microwavable foods.
“The Impact of Western Diet and Nutrients on the Microbiota and Immune Response at Mucosal Interfaces” study, the NIH found the Westernized diet, defined as high dietary intake of saturated fats and sucrose and low intake of fiber, represent a growing health risk contributing to the increased occurrence of metabolic diseases, diabetes and obesity in countries adapting a westernized lifestyle.
According to another study by the NIH, a Western-type diet, characterized by a convenience foods and significant share of highly processed and refined foods and high content of sugars, salt, fat and fatty protein (saturated fats) from red meat, has been recognized as an important factor contributing to the development of metabolic disorders and the obesity epidemic felt around the world.
Optimum social health, then, would mean living the best you can be every single moment of every single day! Right! So, how do you do that? Eat foods found in the ancient Mediterranean diet which comprised of primarily cold-water fish and lean meat protein, whole grains and whole breads, lots of “fresh” fruits, vegetables, and nuts, lentils and beans, fermented foods, and red wine used moderately. Rachael Ray thinks highly of the Mediterranean diet (1).
Concerning the importance of eating “fresh”, according to the a University of Akron study, researcher at Penn State University recently studied the effects of storage on the nutrient content of fresh spinach, for example, and found the spinach retained only 53% of its folate, a key amino acid nutrient, after only being 8 days old. There are many studies that support the healthy benefits in preventing NCDs of grass-fed meats and free-range poultry over conventionally-fed food animals. Here are a few examples. According to Mayo Clinic, the difference in the diets of the cattle changes the nutrients and fats you get from eating the different types of beef, such as
less total saturated fat, more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, more conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that’s thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks. and more antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E
. Grass-fed beef generally comes from cattle and poultry that eat only grass and other foraged foods throughout their lives.
Here are the foods we recommend: 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.
Supplement With A Natural Whole-Food Peruvian Maca
Peruvian Maca (A) is an ancient, naturally growing root plant of the high Andes Mountains. It is a natural healing plant medicine, containing natural antioxidants, with anti-inflammatory properties, and phytonutrients.
Peruvian Maca is a complete nutritional, well-balanced food, which will nourish your body back to health. It will assist you in detoxifying your body, balancing your hormones, boosting your energy level, balancing your endocrine system, reducing your symptoms of depression, enhancing your mood and memory, balancing your estrogen levels, reducing your stress level, improving your libido, reducing your symptoms of menopause, and increasing your fertility.
The wide ranging benefits of Peruvian Maca are well documented, and are incredible, per this NIH study. For more in depth information on supplementing with Peruvian Maca, read this review “What Is In Maca Root?. In this review, you can also request your two FREE items, the e book “The Secret Science of Staying Slim, Sane, and Sexy After 40,” and your 7-night trial sample of “Julva.”
Make Changes For the Best Social Healthy Life
Now you know the true meaning and importance of personal social networking, and, the importance of building strong, healthy relationships in your life, and how it affects you and everyone you have close relationships with, in such a beneficial way. Apply the simple and basic principles outlined here for balancing all life factors, and enjoy both social and overall optimum health. Life’s no different than having a weak link in a chain. The whole chain will be affected in terms of strength or performance, regardless of where the weak link occurs in the chain.
It is very simple, don’t make it complicated, make the necessary changes! Once you completely understand Why Social Health Is Important and you define your social health through beneficial activities, we would be interested in hearing from you. Leave us a note if you have questions or want additional information and we will be happy to get back to you.
(A) Use these links for more in depth information, more documented studies, and to purchase any of these incredible nutrient-dense foods for optimal health and wellness.
(1) Bright Side Video