How to be a Healthier You - Social Health

**In this 3-part blog series, you will gain insight into different areas of health**

 

When we think "health," what's the first thing that comes to mind? Looking physically fit? Eating fruits and vegetables? Maintaining a certain body weight?

Society has us fixated on what being healthy means, and often times, this can lead to negative behaviors and health practices. Examples include binge eating, limiting food options, lowering self-esteem and confidence, displaying negative body images, lacking social networks, and so much more.

However, health is so much deeper than our physical looks. Health incorporates a variety of aspects such as our physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-beings. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, health can be defined as the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit, especially from physical disease or pain. Also, health is a condition in which someone or something is thriving or doing well.

So why is this important? Well, fellow viewer, when we learn and understand health's true meaning, we can make positive and healthier decisions in our life. We can make informed and impactful choices and realize that we have the power to be a healthier.

 

Areas of Health

As mentioned earlier, there are different areas of health that we can all focus on: Physical, Mental, and Social. Of course, we all want to physically “look” healthy, but sometimes it’s deeper than how we look. Think about physical health for example. Our bodily organ systems are all interconnected - what happens to one system, will affect other organ systems. Even when our bodies are distressed, riled up with emotions and feelings, that has a visceral reaction. We don’t think of it that way, because society implies that being healthy is only external. With a drastic increase for mental health needs, there are “invisible” diseases and issues that society cannot see. This leaves many individuals fighting their inner demons silently, which can play a role in their quality of life. Additionally, this affects how we approach different situations and how we handle different relationships. Even friendships, relationships, and social networks affect how we interact with the world. This should not stop us from befriending others, but encourage us to find common interests with people around us.

When we radiate confidence, good energy, and happiness, it shows. This also attracts the right people who will support you during harsh times

**I am not a licensed clinician. However, I hope to provide some insight, advice, and words of encouragement that worked for me and inspire you to view health as a positive thing.**

 

3. Social Health

We don't think of social health as an important part of our health, but this has a great impact, much like our physical and mental health. Social health involves who we interact with, how their interactions influence our actions, and the benefits of having close relationships. However, the first part of social health stems from understanding ourselves - our beliefs, morals, interests, hobbies - all of these factors affect who we socialize with.


Know Yourself First

The beauty of adulthood is that we learn to understand ourselves and what we like and dislike. We begin to see the world in different ways, which can encourage us to grow and change. We also develop a well-rounded approach and view the world as a very "gray" area. To better counteract different view points, it's important to know who we are first. Simple things such as hobbies, career goals, and interests comprise who we are. Eventually, we learn to be comfortable and confident with our life choices and hope that no one tries to change that. This is different from someone being a "hater," who only provides negative feedback and criticism. Those who care will provide constructive criticism and support during your tough times.


The best way to know yourself starts with experience - school, life circumstances, family ties, relationships, travel, and work. Ask yourself some of these questions: what are some things you like? Dislike? Needs change? Your personal approach? Connection to spirituality? You can incorporate this into any area of your life, and you learn that these all involve your personality, attitude, and morality.

If you're someone who struggles to understand who you are or what your outtake on life is, I encourage you to do some self-reflection. Write them down if you need to. Think about where you are right now, how you want to keep improving or change. Self-exploration is something that's not highlighted enough and I think it's an important aspect to understand our place in life.


Be Confident In Yourself: Peer Pressure

In life, we face many conflicting situations that challenge who we are and the status quo. One of the most common social situations we all face is peer pressure. There is both positive and negative peer pressure.


Positive peer pressure involves people pushing you to be better, provoking positive behaviors, and showing you encouragement in the process. Examples include taking the extra mile to do well, making you go to the gym when you don't feel like it, or even providing advice or constructive criticism to be better. We encounter many people who provide positive peer pressure: mentors, parents, friends, significant others, and more.


On the other hand, negative peer pressure is the most common thing we hear and see: friends pressuring to drink when you don't want to, bullying others for your own benefit, breaking the law, and so on. Negative peer pressure does not have to extend to breaking the law. Sometimes negative peer pressure involves excluding someone from your friend group because another individual told you to, or maybe skipping out on obligations because someone else said it's not that important. More often than not, people fall under negative peer pressure because we are afraid of upsetting someone or upsetting a large group, when in reality you are upsetting yourself. Subconsciously we know that this particular behavior is wrong, but we choose to follow it because of fear and self-doubt.


The best way to distinguish the two starts with this: does this particular person have your best interest at heart? If yes, then more than likely it is positive. If not, then more than likely it is negative. These types of situations are determined on a case-by-case basis, but generally it is up to our own best judgement. When you know yourself and maintain your self-esteem and self-confidence, it is much harder for negative influences to dissuade you. Until then, keep finding positive people in your life who encourage you to be better.


Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Once you know yourself and you're confident in your own skin, it's easier to seek people who have the same interest and outlook on life. How we portray ourselves also attracts the same energy. When we find people who have the same interest, same hobbies, same career goals, and sometimes same personalities, we tend to build easier relationships. Of course, this is not always the case. We can meet people with the same interests but have different moralities and beliefs, and vice versa. This is not black and white. There will always be conflict between people, even family and friends. The best way to counteract these differences start with agreeing to disagree and finding common ground.


Many of us struggle to "fit in" though, especially if people form cliques or their own friend-groups. I've never been part of a friend group, or at least never stayed in one. Part of me believes I have not found my "friend group" yet. This is not to say I do not have friends - I have a best friends who come from all walks of life and I cherish them very much. However, we are all busy tackling adulthood and we can meet and hangout when we make it work. I do my best to be friendly and cordial with anyone I've met throughout my lifetime, since it is a waste of energy being evil or hateful towards someone. I am also very comfortable with doing things independently, so I do not rely on others for my happiness or my self-worth.


As long as we are out there living our best lives, doing what we can to give our life meaning, the right people will follow. There is no shortcut to friendship, relationship, or family relations, but it is much easier to handle these challenges when we know who we are.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read through this in its entirety. These are all of my personal life inspirations and changes, many of which come from my experience in work, school, and life. I hope you found something positive and I hope you find ways to make 'healthier' decisions.


I hope you enjoyed this blog series and found new ways to be healthier. You can always contact me if you have any comments, questions, and/or concerns.


Thank you again, my fellow viewer!


Best Wishes,

Sienna N.

March 27, 2020


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