I would first like to ask: what is health? How do you know if you have excellent, good or poor health?
I believe that Health is a balanced state of physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of illness. Health is a positive idea emphasizing social and personal resilience, as well as physical abilities.
How do you improve your health? I think there are 6 main issues that impact on sustaining personal health:
– The quality of your nutrition
– How much stress is in your life
– The use of alcohol, drugs and smoking
– The quality and amount of regular sleep you have
– How much regular physical activity you do.
– Your connection to family and community
Today I would like to discuss how the benefits of creating greater social connections with our families, friends and community improve all aspects of our well being.
You only have to look around to see that we are social beings. Connecting meaningfully with other people will improve our emotional and physical health and often these personal benefits in turn assist people around us to improve their wellbeing. There is a lot of research and anecdotal evidence to say that social connections create a longer, happier and healthier life.
Connect regularly with other members of your family; look after the primary people in your life-connections. Good family relationships take practice and patience to find the pleasure within them. Have a meal together without the distraction of the television, computer or mobile phone. This can be a great way teach your children good social skills, positive eating habits and the value of good nutrition as well as a time to listen to each other without distractions. Eating regularly together can get difficult when we are often busy getting home from work and taking children to after school activities. We eat on the run and do not actually sit, eat and listen together.
Connect with your partner: plan to spend some time together listening carefully to each other. Go out enjoy each others company. Discuss the big issues: how you are feeling, sex, your dreams and plans in life. Good relationships require input and nurturing.
Become a volunteer; you meet new people, you become active and involved, you feel purposeful and you are truly valued by your community. Meet your neighbours; so often we do not know the people that live beside us. Great social connections could be just over the fence!
Connect creatively; give in to that long held secret desire to sing (join a choir) or play a musical instrument. If playing is not your thing, attend musical events, go to performances, whether professional or amateur, and surround yourself with people and music. The sound of people playing music or singing is an uplifting experience. There is evidence to show that being connected to music increases relaxation and well being with a decrease in anxiety, depression and loneliness.
Learning to dance is wonderful for the physical as well as the mind. All that coordination, concentration and fun is also a great social connection formula. Get involved. Join social activities. Book clubs, learning languages, art or craft, sporting clubs, charities, church, and community interest groups all connect us socially and purposefully.
There is more to health than diet and exercise. Getting involved and getting connected will help you to be healthier, happier, live longer and feel more valued.