The events of the past two years have had effects on everyone that are still being felt today. In fact, it seems like they’ll be sticking around. A different concept of time, a shift in socializing, and a general dive in mental health – all of these things have contributed to the quality of people’s social and emotional wellbeing.
But what exactly is social and emotional wellbeing, and why does it matter?
What is social and emotional wellbeing?
Social wellbeing is essentially how well your social life is doing. It centers around having a sense of belonging to a group or community and feeling like your presence in this world is important to others. It can be improved by meeting new people, doing activities with others, and connecting with others in meaningful ways. It can be hurt by isolating yourself, not putting effort into relationships, and lacking thought and care when dealing with others.
Emotional wellbeing is how happy and peaceful you generally are as well as your ability to handle negative emotions. While it’s important for you to be happy most of the time, emotional wellbeing can’t be reduced to focusing on being happy all the time. It’s about being able to accept any emotion that you experience, understanding why you are having that reaction, and then letting it pass in due time. It’s about how content and happy you are, so it’s very deeply connected to your lifestyle, who you surround yourself with, your quality of living, and your own personal growth.
How to tell if you’re optimizing this area of your life
When it comes to social wellbeing, you can generally tell that you’re doing well if you:
- Have a social circle made up of people that you genuinely like, connect with, and enjoy spending time with.
- Feel like you can be authentic with the people in your social circle.
- Trust your social circle.
- Have a social circle that allows you to talk about a number of things that interest you or that you’re passionate about.
- Are friendly with the people at your workplace or hobbies
When it comes to emotional wellbeing, you can generally tell that you’re doing well if you:
- Are happy and feel content most of the time
- Don’t despise a significant aspect or number of aspects of your life
- Don’t bottle up your emotions or force yourself to swallow them
- Allow all emotions that come to you to come, no matter how unpleasant they are
- Can communicate, release, and understand your emotions as they come
How your social and emotional wellbeing affects other areas of your life
Social and emotional wellbeing impact and are impacted heavily by almost all other areas of your life, so it’s paramount that you work on them perpetually.
Here are just some of the ways in which your social and emotional wellbeing can impact your life.
1. Increased resilience
When you are at peace and generally satisfied with your life, you’ll find that you’re a lot more resilient to adversity. When things go wrong, you won’t feel like the world is ending because you know that there’s so much more to life than whatever it is that isn’t working out.
This means that you have the power to keep going when the going gets tough.
2. Decreased stress
Decreased stress means a decrease in the negative side effects of stress, which include unwanted and unhealthy weight gain or loss, poor sleep, high blood pressure, indigestion, heartburn, chest pains, and muscle aches.
3. Better sleep
With less stress and a deeper sense of calm comes a really good night’s sleep. Higher quality sleep is a great indicator of how much peace you have in your life overall. People who aren’t very socially and emotionally well will often be kept up at night by anxiety, depression, and loneliness. It’s important to do what you can to avoid this because sleep affects your ability to function in everyday life.
4. Better heart health
Lower stress is good for your cardiovascular system too. When your blood pressure is lower, your heart is under less stress and you’ll be at a far lower risk for cardiovascular diseases and things like strokes and heart attacks.
There has also been research to indicate that people who report higher levels of wellbeing also tend to be:
- More productive at work
- More environmentally responsible
- More involved in community groups and social activities
- Enjoying healthier family relationships
- More likely to recover quicker from a variety of chronic diseases
- More likely to work/study full-time
- Less likely to abuse alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, and cannabis.
Caring for social and emotional wellbeing
Caring for your social and emotional wellbeing is synonymous with caring for yourself. There are many ways in which you can bolster these aspects of your wellbeing, but here are the five easiest ways to do so.
1. Connect with others
When you interact with others, interact with care. Be invested in what they say, offer help when you can, and go the extra mile for people you care about.
2. Take care of yourself
Just as with others, you must treat yourself like a friend. Listen to what your body tells you and give it what it needs. This can include diet, exercise, skincare, haircare, buying yourself high-quality things, or taking a break.
3. Keep learning
There are always new ideas, insights, and resources coming out that can help you to further boost your social and emotional wellbeing.
4. Be aware
Being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and desires can help you to make necessary changes to your life and lifestyle to help improve your wellbeing.
5. Be kind
Finally and most importantly, be kind. To your friends, to your family, to strangers, and of course, to yourself. This is the ultimate way to achieve wellbeing because when you choose kindness, you’re simultaneously not choosing to be cruel, hurtful, impatient, uncaring, selfish, and more.
When you are kind, you are making a choice that’s good for you – and if you can keep making choices that are good for you, you can achieve social and emotional wellbeing.