Why you should prioritize your social health

Share on X (Twitter)Share on LinkedInShare on Instagram

We often overlook a fundamental aspect of our well-being: our social health.

In a world where success is often measured by material achievements, it's essential to recognize that investing in your social health can be a game-changer for your overall happiness and longevity. Let's delve into why prioritizing your social health should be higher on your wellness checklist.

Researched Backed Data You Should Know:

1. Loneliness increases the risk of premature death by nearly 30 percent. Source

2. A lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure. Source

3. Prolonged Social Isolation and Loneliness are Equivalent to Smoking 15 Cigarettes A Day. Source

4. People with stronger social bonds have a 50% increased likelihood of survival than those who have fewer social connections. Source

4. Feeling connected lowers stress & anxiety, leads to higher self-esteem, empathy, and makes us happier. Source

5. “We may think we want money, power, or fame, but at the root of most desires is a need to belong & be loved.” -Brene Brown

The Overlooked Epidemic

Research unfortunately shows that loneliness is on the rise. Despite its clear importance for health and survival, a Stanford University study revealed that social connectedness is waning at an alarming rate in the United States, citing that over 25% of Americans believe they have no one to confide in.

But loneliness has many different shades and looks different for everyone. In fact, you can have a large community of friends and still feel isolated or alone in your challenges and struggles.

“We now know that loneliness is a common feeling that many people experience. It’s like hunger or thirst. It’s a feeling the body sends us when something we need for survival is missing,” Dr. Vivek Murthy (US Surgeon General). “Millions of people in America are struggling in the shadows, and that’s not right. That’s why I issued this advisory to pull back the curtain on a struggle that too many people are experiencing.” You can read the advisory here.

The gravity of the loneliness epidemic spans globally and led to a growing trend of countries like the United Kingdom and Japan, appointing Ministers of Loneliness. Fortunately, there is a lot of excellent work being done to raise awareness about social wellness, including from the Foundation for Social Connection, Campaign to End Loneliness, and advanced studies from leading researchers in the space such as Julianne Holt-Lunstad and Kasley Killiam.

5 Ways To Improve Your Social Health

1. Carve out time for meaningful connection.

Don’t let busy-ness be an excuse. Make time every week and/or day for meaningful interactions. Whether it's a valuable conversation, meal, or walk with a loved one, prioritize quality over quantity.

2. Make a habit of keeping in touch.

It doesn’t have to be hard. Take a few seconds a day to check in on friends & family. A quick text or call can mean the world to someone, and make your day better too. Want a simple tool that makes this easy? Try LoveBomb, a free app to help you keep in touch.

3. Participate in community.

Put yourself out there – accept invites, make plans and/or join groups/classes. Spending time with like-minded people gives you a sense of belonging and opens up new opportunities. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

4. Choose your people wisely.

You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Surround yourself with those that uplift and inspire you. Let go of anyone who holds you back or brings you down - and if not, set healthy boundaries.

5. Be mindful of your screen-time.

Your phone is not your friend. Be aware of how it’s affecting you. If it’s not enriching your life or is making you feel worse, put it down immediately. Reminder: If you’re with friends and family, prioritize them, not your phone.

6. Double down on your social needs.

As noted above, loneliness, as defined by psychologists, is the gap between the relationships we have and the ones we want. Whether it’s building/deepening a specific relationship, or a desire for close friends, social plans, or community, identify your gap and fill it.

In closing, remember that improving social health is both vital, and an ongoing process. Invest in your relationships, nurture your connections, and prioritize your social well-being. Your happiness, longevity, and overall quality of life depends on it.

About the Author

Mark Shapiro has sent over 20,000 personalized appreciation videos and is the founder of LoveBomb. Inspired by his TED Talk - "The Art of Connection in a Digital World," LoveBomb is a connection calendar & social assistant that makes it easy to never miss birthdays and big days in the lives of people you care about.