Your Social Relationships & Your Holistic Wellness.

In our series of articles on Mental Health & Wellness, we are going to explore yet another essential aspect, which affects us in a big way. At times, we may not even realise the significance of this aspect and may tend to ignore it. However, consciously or unconsciously, it has a far-reaching impact on the state of our mental health and wellness. We are talking about our Relationships and social circle.

Man is a social animal and hence each one of us is a part of society/ social circle. Right from the time, we are born, we develop a bond with various people, be it our family members, relatives, etc. During our formative and learning years, we make friends – personal, at school, college/ university, etc. Once we enter the professional arena, we form new relationships/networks of people. Therefore, at every stage in our life, we develop relationships, some may be long-term and others, short-term.

Importance of relationships.

We meet many people during our life journey. However, we do not develop closeness with all. We do so with only those people we can relate to, or maybe have common interests, etc. These relationships help us go a long way and nurture us in our times of need. We also look for validation from people around us. They help in building our confidence, provide support, and at times help develop a ‘feel-good’ factor within us, or maybe elevate our mood, and so on. We do not consciously realise this and take things for granted at times.

It is equally important to note that every relationship should be on the premise of a ‘give and take’ basis or on a mutual note; else relationships will not last for long. Most of us realise this too late to be able to salvage the relationship. Therefore, you should have the ability to build healthy relationships based on interdependence, trust, and respect. Our relationships can offer support during difficult times and provide you with a feeling of belongingness and acceptance.

How do your Relationships (Social) affect your wellness?

We define Social Wellness as…

“Be a people’s person, an active team player, develop a universal connect and to be able to manage your relationships and interact effectively.” 

Maintaining positive social wellness improves your overall physical, mental, and intellectual wellness. In 1948, the World Health Organisation (WHO) identified social wellness as an integral component of an individual’s overall health. Research by WHO shows that social determinants can be more important than health care and lifestyle choices in influencing health. A few of them may be – attend social activities/ events, join classes of one’s choice, practise a hobby, etc.

Here is an overview of how you could achieve Social Wellness. There are four focus areas:

1. Maintain positive interaction

The people you interact or deal with personally or professionally should not seem a burden to you, or merely ways or means of getting your work done. The interactions should be healthy, meaningful, and respectful. It is necessary or mandatory to have many friends, but even if you have a few close ones, you feel positive, secure, and know that you have someone around in times of need. This should be mutual.

At times, it may be challenging to keep in frequent touch with your near and dear ones – be it family, friends, or even colleagues for that matter. Small efforts to keep abreast of what is happening in their lives are important so that you could provide any support or unforeseen help they may need. 

While interacting within your social network, the purpose should not be ‘WIN or LOSE. The purpose should be to get a meaningful and productive outcome regardless of who is right or wrong. There should be no place for ego.

2. A team player

We all have our individual needs – a few being that of expression, action, or making a decision. While you are a member of a family or a group, part of a team in an organisation, game, etc., it is good to maintain a balance between your needs and those of others. You cannot expect others to listen to you or take care of your needs most of the time. As mentioned above, it needs to be mutual. Do unto others, as you would expect others to do unto you. Do not always try to put yourself ahead of others. Practise tolerance, and patience, and give others a chance, and you will see positive results. Only then, would you be able to earn the respect of those around you. This will foster stronger relationships.

While we all have our personal and professional goals and may be under immense pressure and stress to fulfil them, we should not forget to provide timely support to those around us. Do not be a member for the sake of it. Be an active team player, an enabler, and contribute to benefit others. TEAM – Together each achieves more – needs to be the agenda.

3. Help all

Do not offer help only with an ulterior motive. Be genuine and kind when you shower praise, offer help, etc. Additionally, when you offer help, it is not necessary that you do so to only people you know or who are in your social circle. Anyone in this world may need your help and if you are at the right place at the right time to do so, go ahead without any hesitation. At times, we tend to be indifferent to incidents, which have occurred to unknown people and despite being present there; we refrain or do not take initiative to offer help. Practise true selflessness! 

At times, you may be meeting or seeing a person for the first time ever, an immediate connection is established, and you go out to help or maybe even seek help. There is no valid reason, answer, or purpose involved. It just happens. That is how your social circle or circle of influence would grow larger and you would begin to feel connected with more people. That is how you would start doing things or take action for the benefit of a larger community.

4. Contribute to the community

Offering help on a small scale to those within your circle is good, however, should you expand your circle and work towards causes which are of a larger concern –you could feel immensely satisfied. The more important aspect is that if you do it on your own with passion and interest, without someone asking for help, may result in even more positive interactions and outcomes. That would further motivate you to do things beyond your call of duty. Do not do things out of compulsion; else, you would not get the desired results.

Another aspect to note here is that if you observe something wrong, incorrect, or unjustified occurring with you or around you, it is important to raise your voice and take corrective action. Do not forget, that we are talking about your social wellness. It is not necessary that you need to be a part of a movement at all times, you could also initiate or pioneer a movement. You could be a leader and not a mere follower always. At times, you may not receive immediate gratification. At other times, you may not achieve the desired results. However, efforts will not go waste. You need to find new ways and means to increase your social wellness.

Start managing your Social Wellness…NOW.

Ajay Mahajan | Wellness Mentor, Coach, & Consultant

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