There are so many different aspects to health. We hear daily about eating right and exercising, but health also involves our social connections and interactions. With more people living alone or separate from extended family and friends, it is critical that we are as diligent about our social well being as we are about our physical well being.
July is Social Wellness Month and it reminds us that we need to reach out to others and build stronger social ties with family and friends. Social Wellness encourages us to develop better communications with those around us including the ability to share our feelings and needs. It involves respecting yourself and others and developing a solid social support system.
Social Wellness takes planning and effort to carve out time for those activities as they may not happen naturally in today’s hectic world. We know from our research that socially isolated people are more susceptible to illness and have a death rate two to three times higher than those who are not socially isolated. However people who maintain their social network and support systems do better under stress and are physically and mentally healthier. They even achieve higher grade point averages.
I believe that one of the reasons that on-line social networking has taken off is because of our need to be connected. It is easy to admire the number of friends listed on you FB page, but true social wellness, also means that you carry out full conversations and not just reading status updates or posting the occasional ‘LIKE’. I like to think of these on-lines connections as appetizers that prepare the way for full and meaningful relationships. They should make it easier for us to pick up the phone or invite our friends to dinner.
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Celebrating Social Wellness Month:
- Reconnect with old friends, or reach out and try to develop new friendships. Are you letting yourself be open enough to allow others to approach you?
- Spend time really listening to other people. Find out what is important to them. What issues are they facing? Listening to someone else is one of the best things that we can do for them and it allows us to keep our own issues and challenges in perspective.
- Take the Social Assessment Quiz below to discover which areas you might need to work on.
What is the one thing that you can do this month to plump up your social wellness on your road to a healthier you?
Social Wellness Assessment
The social dimension of wellness involves developing, nourishing and encouraging satisfying relationships. Read each statement carefully and respond honestly by using the following scoring:
Almost always = 2 points Sometimes/occasionally = 1 point Very seldom = 0 points
_____ 1. I contribute time and/or money to social and community projects.
_____ 2. I am committed to a lifetime of volunteerism.
_____ 3. I exhibit fairness and justice in dealing with people.
_____ 4. I have a network of close friends and/or family.
_____ 5. I am interested in others, including those from different backgrounds than my own.
_____ 6. I am able to balance my own needs with the needs of others.
_____ 7. I am able to communicate with and get along with a wide variety of people.
_____ 8. I obey the laws and rules of our society.
_____ 9. I am a compassionate person and try to help others when I can.
_____ 10. I support and help with family, neighborhood, and work social gatherings.
Score: 15 to 20 Points – Excellent strength in this dimension.
Score: 9 to 14 Points – There is room for improvement. Look again at the items in which you scored 1 or 0. What changes can you make to improve your score?
Score: 0 to 8 Points – This dimension needs a lot of work. Look again at this dimension and challenge yourself to begin making small steps toward growth here. Remember: The goal is balanced wellness.
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!