Genetics and our behavior have a large influence on how healthy we are, and our environment also plays a large part in our well-being, as well. But did you know there are several social factors that play an important role in our health? These may be a surprise, but don’t underestimate the impact that our social lives can have on our physical wellness!
Big Life Events – Happy or Sad
It’s easy to imagine the health impact of negative life events, such as divorce, the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job, but we can experience stress even during happy periods of our life, too. Events like weddings or job promotions are to be celebrated, but keep in mind that you don’t put too much stress on yourself. As you celebrate your accomplishments, make time to reflect and spend time taking care of yourself by working out, eating nutritious meals, and getting enough sleep. That way, your good health continues through any transition you may make in life.
A Close Network of Supportive Friends
Studies on socialization and health have shown that having a network of supportive friends can make a big difference in your overall health. People who report that they feel supported by their friends are also shown to have better health, having lower rates of cardiovascular disease and even cancer! And when illness does happen, our close friendships can help us heal quickly and get back on our feet.
As great as it is to have a close network of friends, sometimes you can get a health boost from a stranger, too. Small talk is often viewed negatively, but it can actually be healthy for us! Interacting with others throughout your day in short, small conversations is a great way to meet the needs we have as humans to connect with others. Low-stakes social interaction like a shared moment in a grocery store line, or wishing a cashier a good day lowers your blood pressure and reduces stress hormones. Plus, you’ve probably made someone else smile, too!