When it comes to the topic of health, physical health tends to be the focus. However, your mental and social health are just as important to your overall health and livelihood, and are even tied to your physical health.
Social wellness is a term used to describe the quality level of your social life, much like having “good” or “bad” mental health. The better your social support system is, the higher your social wellness will be, allowing your life to flourish and thrive. Below are some of the areas that social wellness impacts, as well as some ways to improve your social wellness.
What Is Social Wellness? What Is the Focus of Social Wellness?
Social wellness refers to the relationships you have and the measure of your social life: the quality and health of your relationships and your sense of connection and belonging within your support system. Social wellness relies on social relationships, which are fundamental to our wellness and life, for both introverts and extroverts. They bring necessary purpose, connection, safety, and support, among many other benefits.
Your level of social wellness will likely influence and be influenced by your mental wellness. If your interpersonal relationships are struggling, your mental health can take a downturn. Similarly, if your mental health is poor, the health of your relationships can also suffer, as the level of energy you can put into them will decrease.
That’s why it’s important to invest in your social wellness, making connections with others that fill you up and give you a sense of belonging.
What Are Some Examples of Social Wellness?
There are many ways to work at social wellness. Some examples include:
- Engaging in relationships: Being able to be vulnerable with and open up to your close friends and family allows you to establish closeness with others. A key part of social wellness is having at least one person you can open up to.
- Forming reciprocal relationships: By creating new relationships that are reciprocal in nature or putting effort into making your current relationships more reciprocal, you can make sure that each person is putting as much into you as you are them. Let your relationships fill you up, and fill them up in turn.
- Make your support system well-rounded: Having good social wellness doesn’t mean that every relationship you have is close. A solid support system has a few close relationships and other looser social connections, such as coworkers or other good acquaintances.
Social wellness is so closely tied to mental health that, oftentimes, improving it by investing in relationships can be a form of self-care.
The best way to improve your social wellness is to assess your current situation. What kind of friends do you have right now? How close are these relationships? How many close or loose relationships do you have? Look at the areas that might need attention and start working to better them.
What Are 3 Social Factors That Are Associated With Health and Wellness?
Three social factors that are associated with and can affect your health and wellness are:
- Reduced stress
- A sense of purpose/meaning
These are just a few of the factors that your social wellness can influence. If your social wellness is at a peak, meaning you have a good community and support system, then each of these qualities will peak as well. However, when your social wellness is low, they tend to struggle.
What Influences Social Wellness?
Social wellness isn’t just about the quantity or quality of your relationships—it’s about both. If you feel disconnected, lonely, or feel a need to be more vulnerable, invest in the quality of your close relationships. If the pressure of all of your close relationships is weighing on you, consider making some new friends that you don’t have to be so vulnerable or emotional with.
Diversifying your connections gives you the deep connections you need to feel seen, heard, supported, and valued, as well as the looser, more casual relationships that still give you joy but don’t require the same attention.
What Are the Three Pillars of Social Wellness?
The three pillars of social wellness detail what you should be getting out of your social life. The three pillars of social wellness that we’ve established are:
- Purpose: Relationships give us more than emotional support. They can help us live, giving us a way to help and connect with others, motivation, places to go, things to do, and a general level of companionship that makes it easier to face life.
- Community: Just like it helps to have physical resources, having a supportive community around you can give you emotional resources. It can also give you a sense of belonging, which is a very important part of social wellness.
- Intimacy and reciprocity: Intimacy and closeness is an important part of social wellness, but without reciprocity in those close relationships, intimacy can quickly lead to burnout or resentment on either side. It’s important that each party in a close relationship feels listened to and valued.
Each of these are vital to having optimal social wellness. It’s unlikely that you’ll always be able to maintain each of these pillars, but as long as you strive to have these needs met, your social wellness will always be improving from where it is.
What Are 3 Ways You Can Improve Your Social Wellness?
Here are three ways you can improve your social wellness (which is a continuous process):
- Build the quality of your relationships: Deepen them by asking for help, spending quality time, and do activities with those around you
- Build new connections: You don’t have to force yourself into social situations that aren’t your scene—try getting involved in something you like and see who you can meet while doing it
- Participate in your social community: Participating in things like beach clean-ups, volunteer opportunities, and other community events can help you meet other like-minded people
There is no one-size-fits-all way to make new friends, but as long as you keep an eye out for new social activities and events, you’ll likely find something that strikes a chord with you.
What Is Social Wellness in the Workplace?
When talking about social wellness in the workplace, the focus becomes less about intimacy and more about your belonging and purpose within your work structure, both professionally and personally.
Work can give you a sense of mastery and accomplishment, which is good for feelings of confidence and belonging. It also gives you an easier way to make and keep loose connections, which can help you boost your support system.
What Is an Example of Social Emotional Health?
One sign of social emotional health is being able to receive and provide reciprocal support to those close to you. This means that you have the ability to lean on your support system as well as letting others lean on you.
Social emotional health is essentially what improving your social wellness is working toward, so putting work into these areas will help you increase your level of social wellness.
Why Social Wellness Matters and How Thriveworks Can Help
As stated above, social wellness is a key part of being able to thrive in life. It provides many essential factors to maintaining emotional and mental health.
Thriveworks offers both individual and relationship therapy, providing expert guidance to help our clients improve their social wellness. For example, our therapy service can help you if:
- You’re struggling to make or maintain your friendships in adulthood
- You’re looking to strengthen your bond with your spouse
- You’re trying to step out of your introversion and be more confident/outgoing
However you’d like to improve your relationship or social wellness, our clinicians have the resources to help.
Therapy Services for Developing Stronger Social Skills
One therapy technique for developing social skills is social skills training (SST). It is often used to treat mental disorders such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and other disorders that can impair social functioning.
This type of therapy involves being tested for specific social deficits, then explaining how the behavior works and attempting to learn them through trial and practice.
Our Approach to Social Wellness Enhancement
If you’re concerned about the effect your social wellness is having on your mental health, talk to a Thriveworks provider about it. We offer expert therapy, counseling, and coaching services that will address social challenges, improve interpersonal skills, and foster healthy relationships.
Our providers work with you to establish goals and create a comprehensive treatment plan. From there, your provider can help guide you to strategies and practices tailored to you that can help improve your social wellness. Try them out, see what works for you and what doesn’t, and talk with your provider about how to adjust strategies to benefit you and your social life.