By Grace Enriquez, wellness coach
Social Connections Improve Your Health
Did you know that social connections can improve your physical and mental well-being?
At La Clinica we explore a dimension of wellness each month and this month we are focusing on social well-being. You may have heard a few definitions of what social well-being means and, in a nutshell, the key area to focus on is having healthy relationships.
Social well-being is just as important as physical well-being. Of course, making sure we eat healthy foods and include movement in our life is imperative to our health, but those who lack strong social connections have higher risks for heart disease, dementia, anxiety, and depression.
Remember to eat your greens, increase physical activity, and make time to connect!
Strong social connections do not mean having a high number of friends. It is more about internal feelings of connection we feel with others. One can have a million friends and still feel lonely. As long as we feel connected to others on the inside, the number of friends we have may not be as important. We still get the benefits of being connected. Think about what gives you a sense of connection with others and focus on that in your relationships.
People with strong social connections are more likely to live longer, have stronger immune systems, recover from disease faster, and have higher self-esteem, empathy, and self-regulation skills. Our relationships impact our bodies and our emotional lives.
With all the benefits in mind, what can you do this holiday season to have meaningful connections? Here are three practical ideas:
Focus on quality time
Be intentional about how you spend time with others. Be fully present with others so those around you feel seen, heard, and valued. Think about the difference between spending five hours with someone who does not pay attention to what interests you or what you have to say versus spending one hour with someone who is present for you with mind, body, and heart.
Do acts of service
Feeling we are of service can help us feel connected to others. Find volunteer opportunities near you. Distributing toys and food are popular ways to help others during the holiday season.
Join a group or a class
Finding people who may have similar interests can increase our feelings of connection. Find a group or class that you can attend in person or online and commit to doing it regularly.
Of course, there are many other ways we can improve our social well-being. Be creative. Think of ways you can make your social connections stronger before the year ends, or perhaps this could be a new year’s resolution. Have fun and be patient with yourself as you work to find what may work for your busy schedule. Start now and make social well-being an important part of your life.
May you live with ease, good health, and wonderful connections. Happy holidays!
Tip: Make a plan each Monday with at least one new thing you will do in the coming week to support your social well-being. Make a commitment to yourself and keep it.