Last month, we looked at what resilience is and how having purpose in life can help us build more resilience. The next aspect of building resilience in one’s life is social well-being. Social well-being is defined as, “the subjective evaluation of personal life circumstances and functioning in society.”1 For now, we can think of this as: how we feel about our personal lives and how we express it in our relationships and communities.
Why is social well-being important?
Have you ever noticed that when you have a conflict with your significant other, your child, or another family member or friend it can sometimes make it harder to sleep at night? Why is that? Having tension in a relationship that normally feels very safe can sometimes make you doubt trusting that person or make the other person doubt trusting you. All this tension can affect how our body reacts to those people and how they react to us. We can feel a lot of anxiety around certain people because sometimes our bodies and brains don’t know the difference between someone trying to physically hurt us and someone emotionally hurting us.
This is why social well-being is so important, it can affect our physical health more than we realize. When we have safe personal relationships, our lives are free to improve socially and physically, and when we don’t have safe relationships, our lives can feel more lonely and dangerous, which may encourage bad habits like drinking more or doing drugs.
Try this: Make a list of those people who are most important to you. If the list is short, or not where you might want it, write down next to their names what might have happened in that relationship. If separating from them has been a positive thing for your life, that’s good. But if you want the relationship to get back to where it used to be, think of some ways to re-connect with them. Being able to take a negative relationship or interaction and convert it into something positive can help recover social bonds which can not only improve your mental and physical health, but even encourage someone to be there for you when times are hard or you need a recommendation for a job application.
Some ways to increase resilience in your own life using social well-being are:
• Share good news and celebrate success with friends or family to increase positive interactions.
• Meet new people by joining a local class or volunteering.
• Be curious with new people you meet and give them an opportunity to do the same for you.
• Contact people you have not talked to in a while. For example, relationships strained by the pandemic.
• Thank friends or family for their support in your life more often.
Relationships can be a fabric holding our lives in balance and when they are not where we want or need them to be, life can become difficult. If you need a safe place to talk through these difficulties the Rapha Centre has mental health and addiction professionals to help.
Outpatient Addiction and Recovery Community Mental Health
482 Interstate Drive, Suite D 1615 McMinnville Highway
Manchester, TN 37355 Manchester, TN 37355
Hours: Mon-Fri 7:15am-5:00pm/Sat,Sun-Closed Hours: Mon-Fri 7:15am-5:00pm/Sat,Sun-Closed
P| (931) 444-1000 P| (931) 450-8255
1 Keyes, C. L. M. (1998). Social well-being. Social Psychology Quarterly, 61(2), 121–140