Relationships support our quality of life and contribute to our whole health. Relationships can affect our emotional, mental, and physical health and well-being. Connections to family, friends, community, and even animals can help reduce stress and improve physical and emotional well-being.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “People’s relationships and interactions with family, friends, co-workers and community members can have a major impact on their health and well-being.” Various factors play a part in well-being, including conditions in which we live, having a culturally supportive environment, and our access to healthy social outlets.
Research shows social connection is important to emotional health. When we develop and maintain healthy relationships, there is a tendency to feel better, connect more openly and cope with stressors. Positive relationships can be a support for those recovering from a natural disaster, coping with a health condition or grieving loss.
Being mindful supports healthy connections
Mindful interactions also support social well-being. Taking steps to minimize multi-tasking and technology distractions can support quality social interactions. Participating mindfully in a family gathering or group setting helps us to connect with others. A family dinner, summer picnic or group exercise are opportunities to practice being fully present.
Join me for a 5-minute appreciation practice that will help you to connect with your own surroundings and social relationships:
Ways you can create community
We can also be engaged with others as we participate in movement activities, such as yoga, fitness classes or walking. These activities can provide a shared space of presence and contribute to social well-being.
For Veterans, Whole Health movement groups may be available at your VA health care facility.
For caregivers, there are free, monthly one-hour telephone education calls that can offer support and information. Caregivers who are unable to attend the calls can access presentations online at www.caregiver.va.gov/support-line/presentations.asp.