Social Connection & Healthy Activities | Mental Health Well-Being (2022)

Why should you reconsider your relationship with stress and how can you incorporate social connections and healthy activities?

1 Additionally, America is recognized as one of the most stressed countries in the world. Stress levels among the population are 20 percentage points higher compared to the global average.

And while stress levels were high already, the global events throughout the last two years have only exacerbated that reality. 67% of adults in America report increased stress since the start of 2020. These stressors include things like job loss, separation from family, inflation, and the future of the world as a whole.

(Video) Physical and Mental Health

The American Psychological Association now refers to stress as a “national mental health crisis.” Stress causes lasting effects that, according to the APA, “could yield serious health consequences for years to come.”2 The longer people go without second-guessing or seeking help for their stress levels, the worse those lasting impacts become.

Thankfully, there are ways to lower stress and combat its effects. The first step is recognizing that the problem exists. This April marks Stress Awareness Month, a perfect time to consider how stress affects your life. Mental Health Month follows in May and encourages people to look at the role of mental health in general.

Building social connections and participating in healthy activities are important to your mental health. Both of these things have numerous benefits and a positive impact on your stress levels and overall well-being. Why should you reconsider your relationship with stress and how can you incorporate social connections and healthy activities?

What Are the Effects of Stress on the Body?

Stress causes a wide variety of both physical and psychological effects. These range from mildly uncomfortable to significantly distressing.3 Some of the effects of stress on the body include:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Guilt, nervousness, or worry
  • Reduced productivity
  • Short temper or mood swings
  • Frustration or irritation
  • Excessive defensiveness
  • Frequent headaches
  • Lightheadedness, faintness, or dizziness
  • Neck aches, back pain, or muscle spasms
  • Sudden panic attacks
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Chest pain or heart palpitations
  • Increased substance use

The longer you live in a state of stress, the worse the effects will be. Learning to practice social connection and incorporate physical activity into your life will make a noticeable difference. How can you start this process?

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Why Is Social Connection Good for Our Mental Health?

Did you know that having strong social connections can strengthen our immune system, help us recover from disease, and lengthen our life? Yes, social connections are good for our overall physical health, but mentally, they can also lower rates of anxiety and depression.

As social beings, humans need valuable connections. It brings a sense of support and comfort to us and eliminates loneliness that can lead to mental health issues. According to Mental Health America, over 71% of people turn to their friends and family in times of stress, meaning just over 25% have no one to confide in.4 Loneliness is a key symptom of depression and it is one of the leading reasons people seek mental health counseling.

Building Social Connections in Your Life

Stress and mental health difficulties tend to be isolating experiences. In recovery, social connections play a key role. Group therapy offers clients insights and helps clients see they are not alone in their mental health struggles. It also helps to ease the sense of social isolation and presents an opportunity to practice re-engaging with others.

It isn’t always easy to reintegrate into social situations but these skills make an incredible difference. You no longer have to deal with your challenges in silence. Instead, you can surround yourself with a wide variety of people who understand exactly what you’re going through. This reduces the overwhelming, despairing feeling that you must face life alone.

At Lifeskills South Florida, in addition to our group therapy, we help our clients find continued support in sober and mental health recovery with daily meditation groups, Friday community meetings, and Sunday community meals. Clients are also encouraged to join relapse prevention groups, self-help support groups, and community meetings such as 12-Step, Alcoholics Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous.

(Video) Social Well Being - Importance Of Social Connections - Social Life - Social Interactions

Why is Physical Activity Good for Mental Health?

Social interaction plays a key role in improving mental health, but adding healthy activities and hobbies is also important. Research shows that exercise and recreation improve mental well-beingbyreducing anxiety, and depression and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. It has also been shown to increase self-esteem and reduce social isolation.Social Connection & Healthy Activities | Mental Health Well-Being (1)

The American Institute of Stress revealed that 30% of US adults consume food for comfort when dealing with stress.2 However, turning to food only offers temporary relief and does nothing to create lasting change. Incorporating physical activity is a far more effective method of dealing with stress that offers long-term benefits. These benefits include:

  • Prevent heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Lower your risk for stroke, osteoporosis, colon cancer, and diabetes
  • Improve your sleep
  • Increase your energy
  • Decrease some kinds of pain
  • Boost your immune system
  • Help with weight management
  • Decreases stress, anger, and tension
  • Offers a greater sense of well-being
  • Relieves pent-up muscle tension
  • Stimulates feel-good hormones
  • Burns off stress hormones
  • Increases blood flow to the brain

These are only some of the countless benefits that physical activity offers. You’ll notice some immediate improvements when you first start and the positive effects will only expand as you continue getting outside and moving.

How to Get Active

Getting active doesn’t have to be stressful, overly strenuous, or boring. There are hundreds of ways to get your body moving a little bit every day. Adding some fun activities into your week such as walking, swimming, biking, or even enjoying yoga outside in nature is good for you physically and mentally. Recreational sports leagues also offer great ways to combine both physical activity and social connection!

We’re more than familiar with the benefits of physical activity here at Lifeskills South Florida. Our facility is proud to remain on the cutting edge of health and wellness in treating those with mental health issues, addictions, and dual diagnosis. In addition to our integrated wellness activities, we have created the Metabolic Fitness clinical pathway, designed to reduce the risk of cardiometabolic syndrome. As one of our clinicians shared, “Exercise and recreation are important for our clients because as a vital part of the treatment model, it is key to long-term wellness and successful outcomes.”

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We also take a holistic approach to treatment by providing clients multiple opportunities to be active. Yoga is a key part of recreation at Lifeskills. Group yoga classes are part of the client’s daily schedule. Our certified yoga instructor, Buffy Rouse, pairs the philosophy of mindfulness with breathing and movement to help calm the brain and body. Our certified personal trainer, Heather Wright, also offers physical fitness classes to our clients 3 days a week.

Additional Help is Always Available

Social interaction and fun activities as part of a healthy lifestyle can provide substantial benefits to those living with chronic mental health conditions. However, at-home remedies can only do so much. Sometimes professional treatment is necessary when mental health conditions are more severe.

Thankfully, Lifeskills South Florida can help. If you or someone you love needs help with a mental health disorder or co-occurring substance use disorder, please call us or complete our contact form today for more information. Our admissions specialists are waiting to help you find the program that’s right for you. You never need to handle your mental health alone again!

References

  1. The American Institute of Stress. (2022). Stress Research.
  2. American Psychological Association. (2020). Stress in America™ 2020.
  3. The American Institute of Stress. (2021). Stress Effects.
  4. Mental Health America. (2020). Mental Health America.
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FAQs

How does social connections improve mental health? ›

Health benefits of strong relationships

The benefits of social connections and good mental health are numerous. Proven links include lower rates of anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, greater empathy, and more trusting and cooperative relationships.

What is social connection in mental health? ›

Strong ties with family, friends and the community provide us with happiness, security, support and a sense of purpose. Being connected to others is important for our mental and physical wellbeing and can be a protective factor against anxiety and depression.

How does social well being help with wellbeing and health? ›

Maintaining an optimal level of social wellness allows you to build healthy relationships with others. Having a supportive social network allows you to develop assertive skills and become comfortable with who you are in social situations. Surrounding yourself with a positive social network increases your self-esteem.

How are mental health and well being connected? ›

Both physical and mental health impact well-being. When people feel mentally fit and balanced, they're more resilient. Being better equipped to cope with life's difficulties and bounce back from difficult events improves overall well-being.

How important is social connection? ›

The more connected we feel to other people, the more enriched our life becomes. Friendship and being part of a social group offer a variety of mental health benefits. It increases our feeling of belonging, boosts our sense of purpose, and improves our self-worth and confidence.

How do social connections affect health? ›

Wide-ranging research suggests that strong social ties are linked to a longer life. In contrast, loneliness and social isolation are linked to poorer health, depression, and increased risk of early death. Studies have found that having a variety of social relationships may help reduce stress and heart-related risks.

What are examples of social connections? ›

What are social connections? Social connections are the relationships you have with the people around you. They may be close, like family, friends, and co-workers, or more distant, like people you know casually.

How can we improve the social connection? ›

Join a group focused on a favorite hobby, such as reading, hiking, or painting. Take a class to learn something new. Volunteer for things you care about in your community, like a community garden, school, library, or place of worship. Travel to different places and meet new people.

What are the types of social connections? ›

For ease of understanding, we have named the four types of social connectedness as follows: (i) social integration; (ii) dyadic connectedness; (iii) structural connectedness; and (iv) direct connectedness (figure 1).

How does social needs contribute to wellbeing? ›

The relationships we cultivate are essential to our health and happiness or, in other words, our wellbeing. Social wellbeing affects our physical health. People with meaningful social relationships and good social connections tend to be happier, healthier and even live longer than those who don't.

Why is social wellbeing so important? ›

Social interactions have long and short term influences on your physical health and mental wellbeing. Studies have shown that romantic relationships, for example, form a central source of wellbeing for young adults and adolescents, while support from friends typically correlates with higher levels of resilience.

How do you connect 5 Ways to wellbeing? ›

Five ways to wellbeing
  1. Connect. Spend time developing and nurturing relationships with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. ...
  2. Be active. Try to find an activity that you enjoy, and that keeps you active, such as walking, swimming, cycling or playing football. ...
  3. Keep learning. ...
  4. Give. ...
  5. Take notice.

What are the 5 ways to mental wellbeing? ›

Five ways to wellbeing
  • Talk to someone instead of sending an email.
  • Speak to someone new.
  • Ask how someone's weekend was and really listen when they tell you.
  • Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is.
  • Give a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them.

What is positive social connection? ›

People who feel more connected to others have lower levels of anxiety and depression. Moreover, studies show they also have higher self-esteem, greater empathy for others, are more trusting and cooperative and, as a consequence, others are more open to trusting and cooperating with them.

How does social connection help depression? ›

Social connectedness is closely connected to mental and emotional health. When people feel connected, they have lower levels of anxiety and depression. Feeling connected also helps to create more empathy between one another, and that leads to stronger relationships across our community.

How does lack of social interaction affect mental health? ›

Effects of Social Isolation and Loneliness

Mental and physical health are interconnected. Social isolation's adverse health consequences range from sleeplessness to reduced immune function. Loneliness is associated with higher anxiety, depression, and suicide rates.

What are the 3 most important social influences on health? ›

Housing, social services, geographical location, and education are some of the most common social determinants of health. These factors have a significant impact on the current healthcare landscape. As more healthcare organizations deliver value-based healthcare, they are developing strategies to drive wellness care.

How do you build a healthy relationship personally and socially? ›

Top tips on building and maintaining healthy relationships
  1. Get to know yourself. Take the time to appreciate yourself and get in touch with your emotions to be able to express yourself clearly and more effectively. ...
  2. Put in the work. ...
  3. Set and respect boundaries. ...
  4. Talk and Listen. ...
  5. Let go of control. ...
  6. Reflect and learn.

What are the 5 types of social interaction and examples? ›

There are five common forms of social interaction— exchange, competition, conflict, cooperation, and accommodation. accommodation. Exchange, cooperation, and accommodation tend to stabilize the social structure, while competition and conflict tend to encourage social change. How do you interact with other people?

How do social connections affect your brain? ›

Research increasingly shows that strong social ties are crucial to your brain health. Socializing can stimulate attention and memory, and help to strengthen neural networks. You may just be laughing and talking, but your brain is hard at work. This increase in mental activity pays off over time.

How do I connect to wellbeing? ›

5 steps to mental wellbeing
  1. Connect with other people. Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. ...
  2. Be physically active. Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. ...
  3. Learn new skills. ...
  4. Give to others. ...
  5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

What are 3 social factors that are associated with health and wellness? ›

Here are some examples of major social factors that can influence your health.
  • Education. Your education level can have an effect on how healthy you are. ...
  • Income. The amount of money you make has an effect on your health. ...
  • Housing. Where you live has a significant impact on your health. ...
  • Access to health care.
12 Mar 2018

How do you promote wellbeing social care? ›

Well-being Includes:

Treating the resident with dignity and respect. Protecting the resident from neglect or abuse. Providing the resident with choice relating to how they receive care and how they spend their day. Providing the resident with opportunities to participate in social, educational and recreational ...

What is the role of the individual with regard social connections and well-being? ›

Social connectedness is a key driver of wellbeing and resilience. Socially well-connected people and communities are happier and healthier, and are better able to take charge of their lives and find solutions to the problems they are facing.

How do you develop positive mental well-being? ›

10 tips to boost your mental health
  1. Make social connection — especially face-to-face — a priority. ...
  2. Stay active. ...
  3. Talk to someone. ...
  4. Appeal to your senses. ...
  5. Take up a relaxation practice. ...
  6. Make leisure and contemplation a priority. ...
  7. Eat a brain-healthy diet to support strong mental health. ...
  8. Don't skimp on sleep.
4 Oct 2018

What are the 7 aspects of well-being? ›

Wellness is commonly viewed as having seven dimensions: mental, physical, social, financial, spiritual, environmental, and vocational. These dimensions are interdependent and influence each other. When one dimension of our well-being is out of balance, the other dimensions are affected.

Why is connection important? ›

Social connection can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and actually improve our immune systems. By neglecting our need to connect, we put our health at risk. The reality is that we're living in a time of true disconnection.

What is mental wellbeing and examples? ›

Mental wellbeing can be described as a combination of how we feel (our emotions and life satisfaction) and how we function (relationships with others, personal control, purpose in life and independence). It is something that affects everyone, old and young, and anyone can experience good or poor mental wellbeing.

What is mental health and wellbeing examples? ›

Examples include good professional relationships, clear feedback and instructions, positive feedback, and work–life balance. In contrast, factors such as poor or unclear communication, unrealistic deadlines, poor relationships and workplace conflict, and a lack of support can cause negative mental wellbeing.

Why mental well being is important? ›

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

What are the social health activities? ›

Take a cooking, writing, art, music, or computer class. Take a class in yoga, tai chi, or another new physical activity. Join a choral group, theater troupe, band, or orchestra. Help with gardening at a community garden or park.

What is the best activity for mental health? ›

Aerobic or gym exercise – The Lancet Psychiatry study found that aerobic or gym exercise helped promote good mental health. Examples of this type of exercise include rope skipping, boxing, weightlifting, or using a rowing or elliptical machine.

What 5 activities hobbies would you put for improving your mental health? ›

5 Healthy Hobbies You Can Pick Up in Under a Week
  • Reading Can Calm Your Mind.
  • Meditation Can Lower Stress Levels.
  • Outdoor Activities Can Boost Feel-Good Chemicals.
  • Yoga Can Promote Relaxation.
  • Art Projects Can Reduce Stress.
6 Sept 2022

Why is mental health and wellbeing important? ›

Mental health is essential to our overall well-being and as important as physical health. When we feel mentally well, we can work productively, enjoy our free time, and contribute actively to our communities. This page provides resources to help you keep mentally healthy and to reduce stress.

What is the importance of maintaining mental health and well-being? ›

Positive mental health and wellbeing enables you to function well, have meaningful social connections, positive self-esteem and be better able to cope with life's ups and downs. Keeping our mind healthy is an important part of our overall health and wellbeing.

Is well-being same as mental health? ›

Mental health is more than the absence of a mental health condition or illness: it is a positive sense of well-being, or the capacity to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face.

Does well-being include mental health? ›

Well-being integrates mental health (mind) and physical health (body) resulting in more holistic approaches to disease prevention and health promotion.

How do you improve positive mental wellbeing? ›

5 steps to mental wellbeing
  1. Connect with other people. Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. ...
  2. Be physically active. Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. ...
  3. Learn new skills. ...
  4. Give to others. ...
  5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

What strategies do you use to support your mental health and wellbeing? ›

About Self-Care
  • Get regular exercise. Just 30 minutes of walking every day can help boost your mood and improve your health. ...
  • Eat healthy, regular meals and stay hydrated. ...
  • Make sleep a priority. ...
  • Try a relaxing activity. ...
  • Set goals and priorities. ...
  • Practice gratitude. ...
  • Focus on positivity. ...
  • Stay connected.

How do you promote mental health awareness? ›

Some of the most effective ways to achieve this include the following:
  1. Talk About Mental Health Issues Openly. ...
  2. Educate Yourself and Others on the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illnesses. ...
  3. Practice Kindness and Compassion. ...
  4. Take and Share a Free Mental Health Screening. ...
  5. Participate or Volunteer in Awareness Events.

Why is it important to take care of your mental health essay? ›

Emotional and mental health is important because it's a vital part of your life and impacts your thoughts, behaviors and emotions. Being healthy emotionally can promote productivity and effectiveness in activities like work, school or caregiving.

What is positive mental wellbeing? ›

Positive mental health refers to the presence of positive emotions and good functioning (in both individual and social environments). Work being done by Corey Keyes at Emory has shown that individuals with high positive mental health are less likely to develop depression and chronic disease.

What are the 3 components to mental health well being? ›

Mental health can be broken down further into three major components: cognitive health, emotional health, and behavioral health. Each of these components interacts with and influences the others, and they are all imperative to overall wellbeing.

What factors influence mental wellness? ›

What causes mental health problems?
  • childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect.
  • social isolation or loneliness.
  • experiencing discrimination and stigma, including racism.
  • social disadvantage, poverty or debt.
  • bereavement (losing someone close to you)
  • severe or long-term stress.
  • having a long-term physical health condition.

What is the main components of mental well being? ›

Mental wellbeing includes the capacity to:

form positive relationships with others, and feel connected and supported. experience peace of mind, contentment, happiness and joy. cope with life's ups and downs and be confident and resilient. take responsibility for oneself and for others as appropriate.

What are the 5 types of well being? ›

There are five main aspects of personal health: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual. In order to be considered "well," it is imperative for none of these areas to be neglected.

What should good mental wellbeing include? ›

You probably have good mental health if:
  • you are confident when faced with new situations or people.
  • you feel optimistic.
  • you do not always blame yourself.
  • you set goals.
  • you feel good about yourself.
  • you have good self esteem.

Videos

1. Transformation Seminar: Social relationships & their impact on mental health & wellbeing
(Anna Freud NCCF)
2. Social Support & Wellness | Chandra Story | TEDxOStateU
(TEDx Talks)
3. Mind to Mind - Roslyn: How important are social connections?
(Scottish Government)
4. Social Connection
(Every Mind Matters)
5. We All Have Mental Health
(Anna Freud NCCF)
6. MDH Suicide Prevention Webinar Series: Mental Health and Well-being with Anna Lynn
(mnhealth)

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