Social relationships are, for many of us, one of the best and most valuable parts of life. You know that you love spending time with friends, family, romantic partners, and anyone else that matters to you, but what you may not know is just how much social relationships are correlated with your mental and physical well-being. Why are social relationships so vital for your health? Today, we will answer that question and talk about how to build new social connections, as well as how to find help if you’re struggling.
Health Benefits of Social Relationships
Here are research-backed mental and physical health benefits of having strong social relationships:
- Lower blood pressure
- A lower risk of cardiovascular disease
- A lower risk of anxiety and depression
- A lower risk of dementia in older adults
- Lower stress levels
- Increased immune system functioning
- Increased self-esteem
Social relationships are also correlated with higher levels of empathy. Conversely, a lack of strong and supportive relationships is comparative to smoking in terms of adverse health impacts and may increase the risk of early mortality, cardiovascular disease, and more. Of course, it’s crucial that your social relationships are healthy ones that make you feel good about yourself. Healthy social relationships will include mutual respect and appreciation.
Building New Social Connections
There are a variety of reasons that someone may not have the social connections that they need or desire. It could be that you moved to a new area recently and haven’t made friends yet, that you left in an unhealthy, toxic, or even an abusive relationship that prevented you from having other connections in life, or that you struggle with a mental health condition or concerns such as social anxiety disorder. No matter what the case is for you, there’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it is possible to build new social connections. You are not broken, and this is something that a lot of people go through. Here are some ways to increase your social opportunities and make sure that you are spending time with people:
- Start attending a class of your choice. This might be found at an art studio, a yoga or a fitness studio, a community college, community center, or somewhere else.
- Use a dating app that has an option to meet friends. Make sure that you use online safety tips if this is the route you take. It’s becoming more and more common to meet people online, but your safety is imperative. Online people-meeting groups may serve a similar purpose.
- Go to a support group. This is particularly beneficial for those who are struggling with challenges such as grief or loss, a divorce, a mental health condition like anxiety, depression, or substance use disorders, or any other specific matters that impact one’s life.
If something in your life impacts your social relationships negatively, or if you’re struggling with the repercussions of loneliness, seeing a therapist or counselor can be highly beneficial.
Find A Therapist
Whether you’re looking for support regarding symptoms of a mental health condition, trouble with interpersonal relationships, familial issues, life stressors, grief and loss, life transitions, or something else that’s on your mind, there are a number of ways to find a therapist. You can ask your primary care physician for a referral, contact your insurance company or visit their website to see who they cover, search the web, or use a website like Mind Diagnostics that can help you find a provider near you. All you have to do is type in your zip code, and you’ll see a range of mental health providers with various specialties who are licensed to practice and work with people in your area. On the Mind Diagnostics website, there are also free blog posts and online tests, such as this sociopath test. Regardless of how you find a therapist, you deserve to get the support that you need, so don’t hesitate to take the first step and reach out today.