Human beings are inherently social, and your connection with others around you plays an important role in your emotional state and mental health. The ability to interact and connect with others in meaningful, respectful, and positive ways is different for everyone. The connection you hold with each person in your life will be firmly rooted in different things. Social wellness incorporates your sense of belonging, your social support network, and the strength of your relationships.
You will notice improvements in your mood and sense of peace as your connections with people in your community grow. Dopamine and serotonin levels spear as you engage in enjoyable activities with people you care about.
What Is Social Wellness?
Social wellness is the state of having a strong support system with meaningful bonds with your friends, loved ones, and other members of your community. Engaging in positive social interactions, building and maintaining healthy relationships, and creating a sense of belonging are all ways to bring about social wellness. This is important for several aspects of your life, such as your emotional, physical, and mental health.
Solid social connections allow you to experience greater joy, reduce your cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and improve your overall well-being. Your social wellness levels say a lot about how supported you feel, how much your family and friends value you, and how accepted you are in your community and social circles.
What Are The Signs Of Social Wellness?
A few signs that you are socially healthy and well are:
- You can communicate your needs and boundaries clearly and respectfully.
- You balance your personal and social time while enjoying both.
- You feel comfortable being yourself in different situations and with different people.
- You are engaged with your community and contribute to its support and well-being.
- You value diversity and treat others with courtesy, empathy, and respect.
- You have supportive and trustworthy relationships with your friends and family.
- You delight and laugh with the people you care about.
Why Is Social Wellness Important?
Human beings are generally social creatures. Most of us (aside from a few swamp-dwellers) function better when we have bountiful connections with others within and outside of our family. Sustaining healthy relationships is critical for your overall health and wellness.
You run the risk of social isolation were you to forgo developing, being aware, and maintaining your social well-being. Unlike choosing to create some alone time for yourself to decompress and unwind, social isolation is not a choice. Withdrawing and abstaining from relationships and interactions with other humans becomes an infinity spiral, where isolation leads to negative feelings and fear which leads to more isolative behaviors – and so forth.
In that light, social wellness also helps us to:
- Build healthy and supportive relationships with others.
- Develop assertive and respectful communication skills.
- Cope with stress and improve our mood and physical health.
- Find meaning and purpose in our interactions and activities.
- Enhance our self-esteem and emotional resilience.
What Are The Different Types Of Well-Being?
There are many types of well-being and they are all connected. This can make the distinctions muddy when you’re hearing about them out of context or for the first time.
Below is a quick look at the main types of well-being.
This starts with being aware of your feelings in-depth and spreads out to include the ability to healthily manage and express your emotions and generate positive ones. Despite this, many people struggle with the ability to identify and handle their emotions. This essentially means that they are incapable of defining what they are feeling, and are subsequently unable to express or communicate it.
Healthy emotional well-being allows you to create and sustain relationships with others through your ability to regulate your own emotions. Churlishness, negativity, and unpredictable extremes scare people away and will make it difficult for you to build bonds or have any close friends.
This concerns all aspects of your physical well-being, such as your circadian rhythm (sleep cycle), hygiene, nutrition, and exercise. Maintaining your body is just as important as maintaining your mental health since they work in tandem to determine your overall health.
Being physically healthy and well makes you more receptive to new ideas and concepts, new people, and engaging experiences. This openness will be felt by others and creates a fertile ground for new and strong bonds to develop.
This is where you can pursue your professional goals and overcome challenges in an environment that is enriching, supportive, and stimulating. You may be wondering which modern-day workplace allows for such interactions… A quick checklist to run through to see if your workplace qualifies is:
- Do you feel safe?
- Are you comfortable?
- Is there adequate light?
- Is the airflow acceptable?
- Are the noise levels reasonable?
- Do you feel accepted?
- Do you feel appreciated?
- Do you feel respected?
Workplace well-being can be broadened to include the nature of your work and how you feel about it. For example:
- Are you growing?
- Do feel on track to meet your workplace goals?
- Are you allowed freedom to explore your full potential or are you sidelined and micromanaged?
A lot of your time is spent at work, so many of your social relationships will begin there. These relationships can become life-long, and you may find your colleagues are avenues to seek help from when even your own family isn’t interested.
This is where you participate in communal activities that connect you with a wider social environment and help you feel more like a valued member. When you believe that you can have positive impacts on the people you care about and the world at large will not only improve your sense of well-being but also improve the quality of life in your local community.
What Are The Signs Of Poor Social Wellness?
Strong social bonds and networking play a positive and integral part in your overall health, both emotionally and mentally. Poor social wellness can be indicated in several ways, including:
- Feelings of loneliness, isolation, or disassociation with other people.
- Difficulties forming and sustaining meaningful relationships.
- Lacking a sense of belonging or community.
- Experiencing higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Shunning family, friends, and activities that used to be pleasurable.
- Engaging in extremely risky or erratic behavior.
How Can You Improve Social Wellness?
Strong connections with others help you feel like you’re a valid member of your community and you are contributing to the world. The various dimensions of wellness are all connected, so having strong social wellness can help improve your mental and emotional health can go on to improve your mental health.
Improving your social wellness could be as simple as trying some of these activities:
- Keeping in touch with your friends and family regularly. You can try calling, texting, emailing, or video chatting with them to show that you care and are interested in remaining updated on their lives.
- Spending quality time with your loved ones. You can plan fun activities, share meals, play games, or watch movies together. Shared activities help create long-lasting bonds and beautiful memories.
- Joining a community group or a club that matches your interests. This is a great way to meet new people who share your hobbies, passions, or goals. Such activities will allow you to learn new skills, have fun, and expand your network.
- Volunteering for a cause that you care about. You can contribute to your community and society by lending a helping hand to others in need while connecting with other volunteers who have similar values and motivations.
- Celebrate your traditions and culture. Try participating in festivals, events, or rituals that reflect your heritage and identity. This will open you up to learning about other cultures and appreciate their diversity.
- Seek help from others when you face challenges or difficulties. You can reach out to your friends, family, co-workers, or professionals for emotional, practical, or financial assistance while also offering your support to others who may need it in turn.
- Express gratefulness and love for the people in your life. You can say thank you, give compliments, write notes, or bestow gifts to show your recognition and affection. Thoughtful gifts always boost a person’s spirits and moods.
- Be respectful, empathetic, and compassionate towards others. Practice active listening, assertive communication, and constructive resolution of conflicts. This will show others that you respect their opinions, feelings, and boundaries and will build trust and harmony in your relationships.
What Is The Connection Between Social Wellness And Mental Health?
Social wellness and mental health are closely related elements of your overall health and well-being. Social wellness refers to the quality and quantity of your social relationships, such as your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Mental health refers to your psychological and emotional state, such as your mood, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
A few of the many different ways in which social wellness relates to mental health are:
- Having strong social support can help us cope with stress, anxiety, and depression, and boost our self-esteem and happiness.
- Being socially integrated, or participating in various social activities and groups, can also improve our physical health and lower the risk of chronic diseases.
Conversely, lacking social connections or experiencing social isolation can have negative effects on our mental and physical health, such as increasing the likelihood of depression, loneliness, alcohol use, cardiovascular disease, and suicide. Poor mental health has also been shown to increase difficulties with forming and maintaining social relationships, which creates a vicious cycle of social and emotional distress.
Resources Available For Improving Social Wellness
Improving social wellness is not always a monumental task. There are several ways available to help you, such as:
- Counseling or therapy. Mental health professionals are skilled at providing support and guidance in developing healthy social skills and enhancing social wellness.
- Support groups. Searching for a support group (similar people) can boost your efforts at improving your social wellness by connecting you with others experiencing similar challenges, all within a safe and supportive atmosphere.
- Social skills training. Many organizations incorporate elective workshops and courses aimed at helping people improve their social skills and build healthier relationships with co-workers, clients, and others.
- Online communities. Despite pockets of toxicity, virtual communities and forums are often valuable resources for connecting with others who share similar interests or experiences.
Westwind Recovery® Can Strengthen Your Mental Health
You have the right to a healthy and stable life, and you should never feel alone in your struggles. Westwind Recovery® is here to help you overcome or cope with any mental health concerns you may be suffering from. We will walk hand-in-hand with you down the road to recovery and control by providing expert and bespoke mental health services.
Contact us today to schedule a tour of our facility, speak with an admissions expert about insurance and enrollment, or ask any questions you may have.
Dr. Deena is the Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery®, an award-winning outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she oversees the clinical and administrative program and treatment methods. Dr. Deena is a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker since 1993. LCSW #20628. Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Deena has worked running treatment centers, worked as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals as well as school settings and currently has a thriving private practice in the LA area. Dr. Deena has appeared regularly on the Dr. Phil Show as an expert since 2003. She has also been featured on many other TV shows, podcasts and has contributed to written publications as well as podcasts.