Being an introvert can be rewarding and challenging. I love my quiet alone time and also love spending time in small groups building intimacy and close friendships. I could easily stay at my home for days and not see or talk to anyone and be totally content. At the same time, I enjoy participating in large community events like festivals and am fueled by teaching groups and feeling their positive energy. The downside is that too much time bouncing from person to person and a lot of noise and high intensity environments leaves me feeling drained and off-kilter. So how do I find a balance where I can socialize, engage with others, and feel lifted while honoring my own authenticity?
I make conscious choices to connect with small groups of positive-minded people and spend time in places that invigorate me.
Social wellness is described as developing and maintaining positive interactions with others, including our broader communities.
This wellness is not defined by size alone, although having more trusted friends is associated with higher levels of wellbeing and the opposite is true when the number of strangers or acquaintances in our lives increases. We can gauge our social wellness on the quality of our relationships based on our own perceptions. So like all the other aspects of wellness, it’s individual and up to us.
According to PositivePsychology.com, there are three pathways that link our positive relationships, health, and wellbeing:
- Behavioral: Social bonds such as those with partners and friends can influence our health habits and behaviors, which can influence our health and longevity.
- Psychosocial: Social support can reduce stress and enhance emotional and psychological wellbeing, positively influencing health behaviors and physical health.
- Physiological: Positive relationships can boost cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine responses, which can affect longevity and health in the long run.
Making time in our schedules to connect with others is a necessary part of whole-being wellness. If you’re super busy or have social worries or anxieties, it doesn’t mean you need to let your social wellness fall by the wayside. And if you’re a person who loves talking to strangers and has many acquaintances it doesn’t mean your social wellness is in danger.
This summer I have been lucky enough to have time to meet many amazing new people and to spend quality time with friends and family. What I noticed is that getting together with positive, uplifting friends feels fantastic because I get to share parts of my life with them and do things we enjoy together. My mood improves, I can reflect upon and talk about my outings with joy rather than complaints, and I feel connected to other great humans and discover new things about my city. One friend shared with me that she worries about intruding upon or bothering others with requests to hangout so she was so grateful that I initiated a yoga-and-breakfast-date. A handful of yogis got to practice together after more than a year of not seeing each other and all of us definitely got a psychosocial and psychological boost. While I can also be hesitant to “ask people out,” I know that in the end I feel better and so do they. I try to make it simple and low-key by finding an easy place to meetup, setting a time limit and accepting that it’s only a one-time event. These strategies help me feel more comfortable with the idea of going out because there’s less pressure and stress so I can enjoy my time and know that I’ll also have time after to go inward.
Someone who is extroverted and enjoys being with people often can also up their social wellbeing by making time to connect on deeper levels with a select group of people. They can find ways to have meaningful conversations and get to know more about each other to develop trust and intimacy. Playing Q&A type games, making stuff together, and telling life stories are awesome ways to connect.
You can even weave your social networks into empowering meditations by visualizing your trusted and supportive people all around you cheering you on, holding you in compassionate love, and being there to protect you.
Ready to connect and get social? Here are a few ideas:
- Call or text a friend
- Make a lunch date with a loved one
- Volunteer with an organization that supports a cause you believe in
- Take a class that interests you
- Join a meetup or support group
- Celebrate your culture or traditions at a local event
- Express gratitude for others by sending them a letter or journaling about them
- Do a random act of kindness for someone
- Practice Loving Kindness Meditation (metta)
Do you have other ways you support your social wellbeing? Please share in the comments! We’d love to get social with you!
Author: Tamara Kinoshita, Wellness Educator & Coach
What is social wellbeing? 12 activities for positive relationships. PositivePsychology.com. (2022, July 5). Retrieved July 25, 2022, from https://positivepsychology.com/social-wellbeing/#social-wellbeing