What is social well-being?

What is the definition of social well-being?

Social well-being is the development and maintenance of positive interactions with other people. It also involves positive interactions with local and global communities. It is a dynamic concept influenced by individual and external factors. These factors determine the quality and strength of our relationships.

Social well-being is a crucial aspect of our health and happiness. It impacts our mental, physical and emotional well-being. But it often goes unnoticed in discussions about personal wellness. Social Wellness Month is in July. It’s the one time of the year when adult social well-being gets some attention. Yet improving our social health is something we should be mindful of every day.

What is the principle of social well-being?

Unfortunately, there isn't a single agreed-upon principle of social well-being. Sociologists largely use the Keyes Social Well-Being Scale. It measures the different dimensions of social wellness. Corey Keyes developed the tool in 1998. It allows individuals to report their health in five key areas.

  • Social integration measures how connected and accepted individuals feel by others. It assesses feelings of belonging and social cohesion. It also evaluates the presence of meaningful social interactions.
  • Social contribution focuses on individuals' sense of purpose and meaning. This comes from their contributions to society. It assesses feelings of usefulness and being valued by others. It also assesses making a positive impact on the world.
  • Social actualization measures how much individuals feel they are reaching their full potential. It also measures how much they are being their true selves in their social relationships. It assesses feelings of personal growth, fulfillment and being true to oneself.
  • Social coherence is about how people feel connected to each other and their community. It looks at trust, shared values and belonging. It also looks at how people follow the rules and expectations of their community.
  • Social acceptance measures how much people feel valued and respected by others. It looks at feelings of belonging and being treated well. It also looks at not facing prejudice or discrimination.

The Social Well-Being Scale consists of 30 items, with six items for each dimension. Participants respond to each item on a five-point Likert scale. They state their level of agreement with the statement. The total score for each dimension is then calculated. This provides a measure of well-being in that specific area.

How can social well-being impact you?

Studies have shown that social well-being plays a critical role in all aspects of our lives. There are many social health benefits when we nurture relationships. Engaging in meaningful social activities is also important.

Here are a few:

Mental health

  • Strong social connections can act as a buffer against stress and anxiety. Sharing your worries with loved ones can help manage stress levels. Receiving emotional support and engaging in enjoyable social activities can help too. It can also improve mental well-being.
  • Positive social interactions make your brain release endorphins. They are natural chemicals that lift your mood and make you feel happy. Feeling connected to others can make you more satisfied with your life. Feeling like you belong is also important.
  • Social isolation and loneliness are major risk factors for depression. Social well-being helps combat these issues. It fosters connection and belonging and provides emotional support. It also reduces feelings of isolation.

Physical health

  • Social connections can strengthen your immune system. This helps you resist illness. Social interaction reduces stress and releases positive hormones. These hormones boost immune function.
  • Studies have shown that strong social connections can lower blood pressure. This is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
  • Social support helps people make healthy choices. These include exercising regularly, eating well and quitting smoking. You can also join a sports team or fitness class. These are good for staying active and being healthy.

Emotional health

  • Positive social interactions provide opportunities for self-expression and validation. They contribute to a stronger sense of self-worth.
  • Talking to loved ones and receiving encouragement can provide emotional comfort. Having someone to rely on can help you regulate your emotions more effectively.
  • Contributing to your community can provide a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Engaging in meaningful social activities and feeling connected to others also help.

Social well-being can also impact you in the following ways:

  • Improved cognitive function. Studies have shown that social interaction can improve cognitive function and memory. This is especially true for older adults.
  • Enhanced creativity and problem-solving. Working together with others can spark creativity. It can lead to more innovative problem-solving.
  • Increased lifespan. People with strong social connections tend to live longer. Those who are isolated tend to live shorter lives.

What are the six different types of well-being?

There are six widely recognized types of well-being. Each encompasses a different aspect of our health and happiness.

Physical well-being

  • Nutrition: Eating a healthy diet provides the body with the nutrients it needs to function. It also helps prevent disease.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity strengthens the body, improves cardiovascular health and boosts mood.
  • Sleep: Getting enough quality sleep is essential for physical and mental health. It allows your body to rest, repair and recharge.
  • Preventative care: Regular medical checkups and screenings help detect and address potential health issues early.

Emotional well-being

  • Self-awareness: It’s crucial to understand our emotions and how they affect us. This helps us manage stress and regulate our moods.
  • Coping skills: Develop healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress, challenges and negative emotions. This is essential for emotional well-being.
  • Positive relationships: Strong social support networks and positive relationships provide emotional support. They also contribute to well-being.
  • Positive self-esteem: Having a healthy sense of self-worth and confidence is important for emotional well-being.

Social well-being

  • Strong social connections: Having close relationships with family, friends and colleagues provides emotional support. It offers a sense of belonging and opportunities for social interaction.
  • Social participation: Engaging in social activities can help our sense of purpose and belonging. Volunteering and joining clubs also help.
  • Effective communication: Communicating effectively with others is essential for building and maintaining healthy relationships.
  • Empathy and compassion: Having empathy and compassion for others allows us to connect with them on a deeper level. It also helps us build stronger relationships.

Intellectual well-being

  • Lifelong learning: Learning new things expands our knowledge base. This keeps our minds active and engaged.
  • Creativity: Engaging in creative pursuits can stimulate the mind and improve problem-solving skills. These include writing, painting or playing music.
  • Critical thinking: Developing critical thinking skills allows us to analyze information objectively. It also helps us make informed decisions.
  • Open-mindedness: Being open to new ideas and perspectives can broaden our understanding of the world. It can also enhance our intellectual well-being.

Spiritual well-being

  • Religious beliefs: For many people, religious faith can provide a sense of purpose, meaning and comfort in life.
  • Spiritual practices: Engaging in spiritual practices like meditation, yoga or prayer can promote inner peace. It can also foster a sense of connection to something larger than ourselves.
  • Values and ethics: Having a strong sense of personal values and ethics can guide our decisions and actions. It contributes to a feeling of purpose and meaning in life.
  • Connection to nature: Spending time in nature can improve mood and reduce stress. It can also foster a sense of awe and wonder.

Occupational well-being

  • Job satisfaction: Feeling challenged and engaged in your work can help you feel a sense of purpose and well-being.
  • Work-life balance: It’s important to have a healthy balance between work and personal life. This can prevent burnout and maintain well-being.
  • Positive work environment: Having good relationships with colleagues is important for a positive work environment. A positive work environment can improve your well-being.
  • Meaningful work: Feeling that your work is meaningful can enhance job satisfaction. It can also improve your well-being.

Remember, the six types of well-being are interconnected and interdependent. If you only focus on one area and ignore the others, it can hurt your well-being. To have a holistic approach to well-being, you need to work on all six areas in a balanced and integrated way.

RECAP: In this article, we’ve explored the definition of social well-being and ways it can be measured. We’ve also looked at other social health benefits that come when we take a holistic approach to our health. Now it’s time for you to get started! At Allina Health, All Together Better means you’re not alone. Look to Hello4Health, an Allina initiative. It offers online resources and activities. They help adults improve their social connections and mental wellness. They also build community resiliency.