Insight into social wellness

Being social is good for you and can even mean you can have a longer and more fulfilling life.

POLOKWANE – Julia Mogaladi, a social worker from Polokwane, explained being socially well means a person is nurturing yourself and your relationships. She said many people doe not realise the importance thereof which is why July is set aside to create awareness on the matter.

“One of the most important elements in building good social wellness is having social support. Social support enhances quality of life and provides a buffer against adverse life events,” she explained.

Social support can take different forms:

• Emotional support refers to the actions people take to make someone else feel cared for.

• Instrumental support refers to the physical, such as money and housekeeping.

• Informational support means providing information to help someone.

Julia added many people do not understand a person cannot be by themselves all the time and that they need other people. “Healthy relationships are a vital component of health. The health risks from being alone or isolated in one’s life are comparable to the risks associated with smoking, high blood pressure and obesity, it is something that will make your life shorter and less enjoyable,” Mogaldi said.

She added having good and healthy social relationships can be directly linked to health.

Proof of this is seen in studies done which show healthy social networks enhance the immune system’s ability to fight off infectious diseases. People who have a strong social network tend to live longer because the heart and blood pressure of people with healthy relationships respond better to stress.

Julia explained there are several books people can read for tips to better their relationships which are written by professionals. One of the books she recommends is Lasting Love.

According to doctors Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks, in their book Lasting Love, the five secrets of growing a vital, conscious relationship, the following concepts are instrumental in attaining a healthy and lasting relationship.

1. Become a master of commitment. It’s important to be aware of precisely what you are committing to so you can realistically judge whether or not you have the capacity to follow through on the commitment.

2. Make commitments you can stand by. In a relationship, it is important to be honest and empathetic to each other’s feelings, hopes and dreams.

3. Break the cycle of blame and criticism. It is important to own your part in the relationship dynamics.

4. It can be helpful to shift your attention away from ‘fixing the other person’ and onto more creative expressions for resolving conflict. Shifting the focus in this way will help to inject more positive energy into the relationship.

5. Become a master of verbal and nonverbal appreciation. Showing appreciation of others is critical to healthy relationships.

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Riana Joubert

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