What is Social Wellness?

A Healthier Michigan

| 4 min read

Social wellness encompasses healthy patterns of social behavior, self-assertion and self-awareness, and positive involvement in the community. It involves aspects of mental, behavioral, and emotional health and can affect physical health as well, according to the National Institute of Health. Social wellness helps to build authentic and respectful relationships in your life, and it requires daily work and habits to foster.

How is social wellness built?

Social wellness is built on interactions and time spent in your community and with others. Knowing how to interact with others in healthy, positive, and authentic ways can help build up your social health and make you more confident and comfortable with yourself.
Social wellness, just like another area of personal health, requires care and attention. Your social health, just like physical or mental health, cannot be ignored until something goes wrong. Social wellness and social health are often overlooked compared to other areas of health, but your social life affects all aspects of your health.

5 ways to improve your social wellness

You can make positive steps to improve your social health by involving yourself in your community, hobbies, family, workplace, and other social outlets. There are strategies for improving your social health that involve other areas of health, as well.

1. Seek out positive social connections 

Think about your favorite hobbies and pastimes or interests – there is likely an opportunity to share these hobbies with others and spend time together focused on shared interests. Book clubs, knitting clubs, gardening clubs, birdwatching clubs, volunteer groups, and choirs and choruses are some of many examples of group activities. Spending time with other people, including friends or strangers, can help to fight off feelings of loneliness and symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to the NIH.

2. Get enough exercise, especially outdoor exercise

There are many benefits to physical activity, and proper amounts of physical activity can help to ward off negative mental health symptoms. Even a daily 10- to 15-minute walk outside can have notable positive effects on your mental health and emotional well-being, as well as on your heart health and respiratory system, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Time spent in nature can do wonders to center yourself emotionally and mentally. The sounds of rustling leaves and wildlife and fresh air are healthy ways to engage multiple senses at once and keep you grounded in the present. They are calming to the mind – even 20 minutes spent outside can have a positive effect on your mood and emotions.
Exercise is an effective practice for many mental health symptoms, and a brisk walk can be easy to fit into your day, even by walking on a break from work. 

3. Work to build healthy interpersonal relationships

Having authentic and respectful relationships with your peers and community is a pillar of social wellness. This can be a different journey or everyone, but some tips from the NIH on how to foster positive relationships include:
  • ask for what you need from others
  • listen without judgment or blame
  • practice empathy
  • keep disagreements respectful
  • avoid bring critical and angry toward others
  • learn how to set healthy boundaries with people you need to
  • learn the signs of an abusive relationship

4. Take care of yourself and your needs

Practicing self-care and positive self-talk can help to keep your focus on healthy and valuable pursuits. Especially if you are a caregiver for a loved one, or work in a service-oriented industry, it can be especially difficult to take or make time for yourself. Make sure to give yourself routine breaks and ask for help when you need it. It’s important to learn how to take care of your mental health both in times of stress and on a regular basis.

5. Set good social examples for kids

Kids are always looking to adults around them for explicit and implicit guidance on how to navigate the world socially. Make sure to set a good example for your kids and others around you on how to have healthy social relationships and community involvement. Kids who start to learn healthy socialization at a young age have better mental health outcomes in the long-term, according to a 2019 study published in Frontiers in Psychology. Ways to set good examples for kids include:
  • praising good and healthy social behaviors
  • including children in tasks and errands outside the home
  • set screentime or device time limits for both yourself and kids
  • ask kids about their wants, needs and goals, and help to achieve them
  • participate together in activities your child enjoys

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A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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