Did you know that loneliness may be a primary cause of Alzheimer’s disease? Or that social isolation reduces the chances of survival for breast cancer patients? Have you ever taken care of your social health?
A study conducted by Brigham Young University (BYU) reveals that loneliness and social isolation increases pre-mature death risk by 50%. Simply put, you get so lonely that you die. Harsh, right? Sadly, it’s the truth.
Therefore, it becomes crucial that we are aware of our social health and we
What is Social Health?
Social health primarily inculcates your ability to form satisfying interpersonal relationships with others. It can also be identified as your ability to adapt comfortably to different social situations. Moreover, acting appropriately in a variety of settings also comes under the purview of social health.
Every day, every week, we take a lot on “socially” unhealthy decisions. In the present times, we all have been wired to be socially unhealthy and we feel that’s “cool”- my life, my rules. Every time you choose Netflix over a get-together, you compromise on your social health. Every time you decide to be “emotionally unavailable” in a relationship, your social health deteriorates further.
Why is Social Health Important?
Think of the time when you felt the most lively, the most active. Were you alone during this time? Most likely, no. You had company.
A German study says, “New social activities, such as a weekly card game with family or taking more time to help an elderly neighbour, may lead to greater life satisfaction.”
Social Health Impacts Physical Health
Apart from the fact that poor social health increase death risk, people also get prone to a number of medical ailments. It leads to increased blood pressure, higher rates of colds and flu,
higher mortality rates from breast cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. On the other hand, a socially healthy person has a stronger immune system which helps people in recovering faster from ailments.
Social Health Impacts Mental Health
Research says that four of the most common mental health disorders thrive on loneliness. First in this list is depression. Remember those moments where you were in your lowest of lows. What did you want the most back then? Someone, to be there for you? Someone to hear you out, right? Loneliness and depression go hand in hand.
Social anxiety is the second disorder is grows on loneliness. Social anxiety is often termed as discomfort in knowing people. People tend to avoid any social interaction due to this anxiety and hence end up lonely.
Next is substance abuse. In Johann Hari’s Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, he posits that when people lead lives full of closeness with others, they do not become addicted to drugs – even when they are put on powerful painkillers after an accident, for example. But the opposite is also true. Those who feel lonely before ever taking a drug are much more likely to get hooked.
Lastly, there is hoarding. Commonly known as obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding also stems from the lack of close friends and family. People who fail to confide in companions, turn to comforting objects to fill the void.
So now that you know that if you really want to stay healthy in 2019, you must take into account how you interact with people. Here are a few new year resolutions for your social health:
New Year Resolutions for your Social Health
Find your people- Join a team
There’s always one thing that you could relate to, talk about, try out. And it is always awesome to be engaged in that thing with like-minded people. People who love to try out, enjoy the same thing. So find a team, a club, a community which you relate to. And if fitness is what you love, join the Fitato community and enjoy Fitato exclusive events.
Talk more- One long conversation a week
When was the last time you called that old school friend? Or the last time you had a conversation with your neighbour? Or even a long conversation with your mom? Did you ever try making a conversation with a stranger on a bus or in a cafeteria? Start now!
Be spontaneous- One unplanned activity a week
There’s nothing more exciting than an impulsive plan with your friends, flatmates or even office colleagues. Head out for a drink, a group activity, karaoke night or even a community workout, not planned in your schedule. The adrenaline will do the rest!
No Running Away- Confront uncomfortable situations and conversations
Dissonance and disagreements will always be there. So you will just stop talking or spending time with people who are wired differently than you. Or who don’t agree to your ideologies. Debates and discussions are cathartic. Don’t run away from awkward conversations. A strong relation is what comes out of it.
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