Social health is a little-known term that, however, describes a fundamental dimension of our health.
It is usually associated with the ability to establish satisfactory social relationships, but in reality, it goes further.
Imagine the case of a person who has excellent physical health, who also has many friends with whom he meets often and has a great time.
Let’s also imagine that this person lives in a place where the unemployment rate is very high, where to access the education they have to go into debt and, in fact, is that person in good social health?
Well no, because social health is determined by factors such as access to education, employment conditions, social services, and other variables that the World Health Organization (WHO) has very well defined.
What is social health?
Social health is the ability to adapt and self-manage in the face of changes and challenges in the environment, as well as the ability to develop satisfactory relationships with other people.
What factors influence social health?
The WHO has identified the social determinants of health in general, which also includes social health. These are:
- Conditions of employment.
- Social exclusion.
- Public health programs.
- Gender equality.
- Early childhood development.
- Systems of health.
- Evaluation of health variables.
- Healthy urbanization.
How to improve social health from the individual?
If we take into account the above factors, it is clear that much of the responsibility for improving social health rests with governments and public systems.
But there are many things we can do on an individual level to improve social health, for example:
Spend time with our family and friends
To have healthy personal relationships, the most important thing is to give ourselves. That means spending time with those we want to relate to.
Many times due to overwork, time incompatibilities or other reasons, time is the least we have to give.
We substitute ourselves with quick text messages or occasional gifts, a behavior that eventually leads to our interpersonal relationships being affected.
Choose wisely who we spend our time with
We already know that time is scarce and very valuable, hence when we decide to share it with other people, they must contribute to our well-being.
Toxic relationships, which generate negative states or lead to clearly wrong decisions, do not contribute to improving our social health.
Be open to experience and diversity
To feel part of what surrounds us, it is important to be open to new experiences and other people.
Societies are diverse by nature and accepting (even enjoying) that diversity is a way of integrating and better adapting to our surroundings.
We must not impose cultural, gender, or race barriers that prevent us from having a healthy relationship.
Take advantage of opportunities to contribute in our community
If we want to have better social health, then we can start by contributing to making our environment a healthier place.
Let’s identify the opportunities that exist to help; from volunteering, for example, or simply being part of community groups with similar interests.
Social health, like mental and physical health, is influenced by variables that are not under our control, but there are other modifiable factors that respond to our behavior. It is towards them that we must direct our efforts at the individual level.