Nurture your relationships
Human beings are social animals, which mean that healthy, positive, and mutually satisfying relationships with others are key to living a happier life. Social wellness refers to your ability to interact with the people around you in a healthy and meaningful way. It involves using good communication skills, having meaningful relationships, respecting both yourself and others, and creating a support system of family and friends that you can turn to in times of need.1
Since July is Social Wellness Month, it’s the perfect time to take a closer look at the important people in your life and make sure that you’re giving and receiving the kind of support you need to make those relationships as strong and healthy as possible.
It’s not just a nice thing to do; it can actually help you live longer. According to The University of Minnesota, the heart and blood pressure of people with healthy relationships respond better to stress, their endocrine and cardiovascular systems are healthier, and their immune systems are better able to fight off infectious diseases.
But mostly, being around people who make you happy—and whom you make happy in return—just plain feels good!
Consider making July the month to grow your social network, take stock of the relationships you already have, and put a little extra effort into nurturing those oh-so-important bonds.
- Honor your commitments. Don’t flake out on your friend after you’ve agreed to meet him or her for coffee. You may have changed your mind since saying yes, but that’s not a good enough reason to risk damaging your friendship. Make sure you know exactly what you’ve agreed to when you make a commitment so you can stand by it, and be honest and empathetic when you have to say no.
- Show them how much you care. Life is busy, and it’s easy to forget to let the important people in your life know exactly how important they truly are. If a friend or family member has made a positive difference in your life recently, tell them today. Make a habit of saying thanks.
- Spend time together. Carve out some quality time to hang out with the people in your social network. Facebook is fun, but nothing beats face-to-face.
- Choose wisely. Make sure to focus your efforts on the people who truly care about you and your well-being. It doesn’t mean you should turn your back on friends and family members who are difficult, it just means that you should be aware of those who cause unnecessary strain on your emotional state and respect yourself enough to take a step back when you need to.
- Expand your circle. If you feel that you don’t have enough of a support system, reach out. Join a club, take an interesting class, or get more involved in a hobby. Chances are you’ll find like-minded new friends if you do.
- Volunteer your time. Not only does volunteering make you feel good, but it will also help to keep you socially active, and you may meet others with the same values and interests as you.
Remember that one of the most important relationships in your life is the one you have with yourself, and you have to nurture that relationship in order to be able to care for others. Treat yourself with the same kind of respect and compassion that you give to your loved ones. In fact, treat yourself the way you would treat a child: make yourself healthy foods, make sure you get lots of sleep, make time to do the things you love, get outside and play, and most importantly love yourself.
4119418B CAN/US (07/15)