We’ve all heard of physical health; how we feel after exercising, how we function when sick, or feeling sufficiently rested. Mental health is the way we look at ourselves, perceive the world, and why we do certain things daily. However, social health has become a category all its own. The way you interact with the world, form personal relationships, and how those relationships affect you are all examples of social health.
The Bigger Picture
People can affect our health just as we affect their health. If we are encouraged to workout with a friend we may be more likely to follow through. The same goes for social health. Whether you have an easier time navigating relationships or have anxiety about meeting new people, social health plays a role through our experiences and shapes how we connect with the world. Research has found that low social involvement in childhood sets off mental health risk factors for depression, low self-esteem, and poor health habits which set the tone for a lifetime of social hardship. However, supporting healthy social networks can positively alter health outcomes in someone of any age. Cycling back to physical health; depression and poor health habits can cause chronic illness such as diabetes, obesity, or other physical ailments stemming from poor social health.
Improving your social skills isn’t just a way to curb anxiety of social situations but also a way to keep other aspects of your health in check. If you are healthy, others around you may be more inclined to follow suit. Where short times away from others can also be good to recuperate energy, a few small ways to improve social health start with just opening up and connecting with the people around you. Humans crave attention, connection, and acceptance – so it is natural to want to foster those relationships with others. Volunteering in the community, joining a neighborhood hobby club, starting a walking group with friends, learning more about healthy relationships, and even just being a role model for kids developing their own social health are ways you can boost your own social health and positively impact your community. When you’re healthy, the world around you can be too!
Written by GUADS staff member Meghan with contributions from: