The Social Dimension of Wellness
Any extroverts out there? Then you probably thrive in this dimension! How about my fellow introverts, how are you doing with social connection? Does even the thought seem overwhelming to you? I can relate.
The social dimension of wellness is all about connection with others. This is being intentional about pouring into friendships, scheduling outings and connecting with like-minded individuals. This involves sometimes getting out of your comfort zone to meet new people or try new things with your tribe. It also means being vulnerable and authentically connecting with others.
Let’s be real, those of us who were strong in this category were also most likely the ones that had group Zoom calls and social distanced lunches on the patio during COVID quarantine. Those of us who struggle with this dimension probably were not fazed by the social isolation until we looked up and realized we hadn’t seen anyone in a year.
I think this more than any of the other dimensions has been greatly impacted within the last few years, for everyone. Some of you realized the great community around you and how connection can be made in many ways, others struggled because you need physical connection and were not able to get it while others realized just how alone you were in your life due to your lack of social engagement.
So, now here is the real question. Based on your findings from social distancing, how can you improve (or maintain) a healthy level of social wellness?
Let’s remember, social wellness is not the frequency of social connection as much as the quality of the connection. You can be the most popular person in the world but if all of your social outlets are surface, this area of your life will probably still fall short.
Now, how do we create strong social connections?
First, we need to evaluate whether or not the people in our life are safe to share with. When we share something with them, do they keep it in confidence or go tell everyone about it 10 minutes after you leave? If it is the later, they need to remain surface level friends (or better yet, not friends). If you have someone that you feel safe with and that will keep your trust, perhaps you can start sharing with them more vulnerable parts of your life. I often recommend to clients to share something personal but not too personal. If the person demonstrates trustworthiness for that then next time we share deeper and deeper, proving they are trustworthy or getting confirmation that they are not.
We also need to create networks of people with similar interests. Maybe you are a new mom and you join a MOPS group. That was such a healing time for me to connect with other moms in similar stages of life with similar struggles. Or perhaps you join a knitting group like my mom, where she has made friendships that have lasted decades. You could join a small group at church or a hiking group on the weekends. This is a beautiful way to seek connection from people you may not have met otherwise who may be different from you but none the less you are able to accept one another wholeheartedly.
Now, I am speaking to you introverts who may be asking yourself why you need to connect with others because it seems like a lot of work that won’t be worth it.
Honestly, not all social connections are worth it which is why you need to explore which ones are. Even introverts need to feel connected, a sense of belonging and of being wanted. Those are not needs unique to extroverts. When we are connected with others, we are reminded that the world is bigger than us, we are not alone and our struggles aren’t our own. Having strong social connections allow us to lean on others when we are struggling and also be able to lift others up when they are having a hard time.
Like the song goes “Lean on me, when you are not strong and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on. For, it won’t be long till I am gonna need, somebody to lean on”.
Okay, cheesy I know but I know you were singing along.
I want to hear from you, what are some ways you are going to enhance your social wellness? Comment below, DM me or email me and let me know!
Jocelyn is a Licensed Professional Counselor and course creator who desires to help clients heal and grow into who God created them to be.