Social Wellness: The importance of connection

Creating connections with people can be easy for some and difficult for others. From very early on in life, many are encouraged to make friends and to develop relationships and social skills. As children it may seem easy or even scary at first, and sometimes it can still feel like that into adulthood. While some may classify themselves as an introvert, extrovert or somewhere in between, everyone’s social wellness plays an important role in their overall health.


This month is National Social Wellness Month. Social wellness refers to the relationships people have and how they interact with others. As humans, social interaction is essential to many aspects of health, both physically and mentally.


The benefits of having positive connections with friends, family, professors, coaches, supervisors, and neighbors are numerous. According to the National Library of Medicine, research shows social wellness plays a direct part in good mental health, which can lower rates of anxiety and depression, enhance mood, lift self-esteem and even lower blood pressure. Positive social connections have also shown substantial physical impacts in many other categories of health from weight management, diabetes, dementia, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.


“Social connections are a pillar of lifestyle medicine. Humans are wired to connect, and this connection affects our health,” says Aspirus Psychiatrist Dr. Fabio Catao. “It’s important to nurture healthy relationships with people who make you feel good by spending time with them, and by trying to talk to someone every day.”


Positive social habits can help individuals build support systems and stay healthier mentally and physically. Below are simple ways to help build and maintain social connections for everyday life.

  • Keeping regular contact with your friends
  • Spending quality time with your loved ones
  • Engaging in volunteer work
  • Taking classes at a local community center
  • Joining a group based on your interests
  • Celebrating your traditions and culture
  • Participating in community events

“Engaging in group activities or connecting with friends and family, with whom a person has a good relationship is recommended on a daily or at least weekly basis. This could be a phone call, a Skype call, or a face-to-face interaction. It needs to be an interaction that helps you to feel close to another person," says Dr. Catao.


For people struggling with social or mental wellness, talk to your doctor or visit to schedule an appointment.