July is social wellness month, and serves as an opportunity to review how we interact with others. Our social wellness is more vitally important to our overall health than one may realize. In fact, those who socialize with others tend to live longer than those who prefer to isolate themselves. So this month, take some time for yourself and examine how you engage with the loved ones or friends in your life. Here are a few ways you can improve upon your social wellness.
Develop Good Communication Skills
Whether you’re naturally extroverted or introverted, everyone can benefit from good communication skills. How we communicate helps us to relate to others and speak up when necessary. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when building your communication skills:
- Maintain eye contact when talking to individuals
- Be a good listener! Give people plenty of ample time to contribute to the dialogue
- Practice proper body language
- Don’t respond right away, but take time to develop a thoughtful response
Build Healthy, Meaningful Relationships
Humans are a naturally social species. So it should serve as no surprise that strong, positive relationships can have a tremendous positive effect on our overall health. In fact, research shows people with strong, positive relationships tend to:
- Have a healthier heart and blood pressure when responding to stress
- Improved endocrine and cardiovascular health
- An enhanced immune system
But there are also health side effects for those who are isolated or alone. Studies have also shown isolation can have the same detrimental health effect as smoking or obesity. So, be sure to build a few strong relationships with people you trust. This could be a family member or a close friend.
Respect and Love Yourself
Social wellness starts with how you view yourself. One of the most common misconceptions about self-love is that it’s a form of selfishness or vanity—it’s quite the opposite! When you love and respect yourself, your mood becomes more positive, you become more confident and you’re more likely to socialize with others in your community. Additionally, there are plenty of health benefits self-love contributes to such as lower risks of depression and anxiety.
Create a Safe Support System
When we face adversity in life, it’s important to have someone to lean on for emotional support. Too often, individuals allow life difficulties to well up inside. Not only can this affect your mental well-being, but it also can drive us to isolate from others. However, when you seek help from a friend, family member or counselor, it allows you to make a connection and receive perspective and strength needed to weather the storm. Remember, it is never a sign of weakness or shameful to ask someone for help.
Your social wellness is an important aspect of your life. Therefore, be sure to be socialize with others through shared life experiences. If you feel like you have trouble communicating or are concerned about your social or mental wellness, stop by our Community Health Center and talk with someone.