Spreading Social Wellness
“We cannot achieve more in life than what we believe in our heart of hearts we deserve to have.” -- James R. Ball
The mind-spirit-body connection is a phrase we hear a lot today. In therapy, it’s a much used phrase for the client to learn to communicate with his/her own body to work through trauma and issues. The belief is the more you understand your feelings and emotions and how your body reacts to them (headaches, nausea, fatigue, etc.), leads to a stronger sense of self-worth, health, and overall well-being.
As humans, we are always seeking to better our lives. We eat healthier, natural and organic foods, drink more water and less sodas and juices, and spend hundreds of dollars each month on gym memberships and exercise equipment. We take vitamins and supplements to make ourselves feel and look better. Some even go to the extremes of plastic surgery and injections in search of perfection and happiness, when really, all we need to do is look as far as our neighborhood, church or spiritual organization, or workplace.
One of the best ways we can maintain or even improve our emotional and physical health is through social wellness. Social wellness is the idea of building close, faithful relationships with others as well as ourselves. Having close relationships with others had been shown to reduce stress, lower cholesterol and boost the immune system. Having a healthy relationship with yourself opens you up to receive the love and caring of others. As the old cliché goes “You cannot love anyone else until you first love yourself”.
How can you start today to build relationships and improve your health and the health of those around you?
• Set your own goals and priorities and allow people into your circle who encourage and support you. Keep in mind that no one is perfect, and allow yourself to be imperfect; allow others to be imperfect too.
• Join a health club or fitness class. Studies show that when you work out with a friend, you are more likely to stick to a fitness routine and reach your weight loss and health goals. You will both find the motivation to “get up and go” each day.
• Volunteer for an organization or cause you feel passionate about. You will get out into the public and have a greater chance at meeting and forming relationships with new people, or strengthening bonds with acquaintances. Not only will you be helping the community, but you will help yourself by achieving a level of satisfaction at your good deeds.
• Join or form a support group. It could be as simple as a group of stay-at-home parents who get together for play dates once a week. Getting out for play dates will benefit the adults as well as the children, who will learn to form bonds and friendships with the other children and adults in the group. Seek a support group for understanding and coping skills.
• Having a strong social network can help improve your mood and raise your self-esteem. Allowing yourself to let go of negative events and moods makes you more receptive to the help, support and advice of the individuals in your network who are there to support and better you.
The hardest step is the first one. Moving outside your comfort zone can be, well, uncomfortable, stressful, or anxiety-ridden. A little bit of stress in your day can actually be beneficial for heart health and emotional health. This “good” level of stress motivates and gives you energy to get things done. Giving yourself this little push will motivate you to push even farther.
Start today to better the community, your family and yourself. For more information on volunteering or community groups to join, please contact AVA, Humboldt Chamber of Commerce at 623-2225, or check with your church or spiritual organization.
This column is not is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice or treatment.