Social wellness is one of the eight dimensions of wellness, which also include physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, intellectual, environmental and occupational. Each aspect of wellness affects overall quality of life, and social wellness is an important element of good mental and physical health. Did you know that health risks from being socially isolated can be just as great as the risks involved in having high blood pressure, being obese, or even smoking cigarettes?

Social wellness refers to the ability to interact with the people around you, and how you nurture yourself and your relationships. The social dimension of wellness involves developing, nourishing and encouraging long-lasting, satisfying relationships. Research shows that seniors who stay socially active tend to live longer; having a strong social network is associated with healthier cardiovascular functioning and the immune system’s ability to fight off certain diseases and illnesses. As you age, it’s more important than ever that you continue to nurture your current relationships and build new ones with those surrounding you.

Practice Social Wellness Year Round

Since July is considered Social Wellness Month, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and evaluate the connections and relationships with others in your life. Use the month of July to develop some new friendships with those who share similar interests, or get reacquainted with those whom you’ve lost touch.

Just a few ways to improve your social wellness and grow your current social network:

• Develop new friendships. You’re never too old to make a new friend! Join a book club or head to a yoga class; you’ll easily meet people with similar interests to create invaluable new relationships. You can even consider volunteering some of your time doing charity work, which will not only allow you to help others, but also provides a chance to meet others who share your passions.

• Let others take care of you. Sometimes, it’s difficult to admit that you can’t do everything you used to do in your younger years. But remember, those who care about you want to help you, even if it means just driving you to an appointment or the grocery store, or helping out with a household task. There’s no shame in admitting you can’t do everything yourself, and allowing others to take care of you opens up a window for more social connections, too.

• Honor your commitments. When you make plans with a friend, it’s important to honor that commitment. That said, don’t over-commit yourself; make plans you can adhere to. Avoid disappointing others by making social commitments you can stand by.

• Show others you appreciate them. Showing appreciation and gratitude can help strengthen your friendships. One study even found that expressing gratitude towards a partner can strengthen the relationship, allowing for a boost in positive feelings between both parties.

• Find peace within. Leading an active social life is important, but taking time to relax by yourself can help you find inner happiness within. Clear your mind and get a good night’s sleep so you can continue to enjoy living an active, social lifestyle.
At Galloway Ridge, you’ll find an abundance of programs to help you enrich your life and continue to grow new relationships with your peers.