What is social wellness you ask? Social wellness is the ability to build, maintain and be a part of a positive social network.
Social networks offers us an abundance of benefits from obtaining a value of diversity, difference in opinion, allows us to interact with those that share our interest and within the same age group, and yes even have better health!
The ability to build positive social networks is not easy. Several things contribute to building a social network that you can count on, but prior to doing so; you must be prepared to handle your role/responsibilities within the network.
Individual roles within a social network vary, depending on each individuals personality and talent. The first and most important part of being in a social network is by creating dependable, trustworthy relationships with those around you. In order to build this type of relationship, you must first be dependable and trustworthy. Your friends, family and community must find you to be a person of your word and able to know that when spoken to you will always be honest and straightforward in everything you say. Availability and presence are also key factors. This includes being available for a friend to lend an ear or an honest opinion, to being there when a acquaintance, simply needs a prayer.
What a simple way to start any social network! Now you may wonder where do I meet the people to get started networking with. There are many websites that offer services to help you to build social networks such as, Facebook (http://www.facebook.com), Myspace (http://www.myspace.com), Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com), Twitter (http://www.twitter.com) and many more. These sites are often used for befriending people and meeting them as well. This particular form of social networking can be unsafe and better for utilizing with friends you are already familiar with and keeping in contact with.
There are ways to become part of a social network without meeting people online or in any other unsafe environment. For instance, our community (Lee County) has many churches who offer a wide range of services from socials for elder members to youth groups. Wide ranges of topics are usually covered by the selection of groups that have been developed from youth ministries, couple’s ministries and yes even the not so coupled ministry for singles. This is generally, the safest way to meet new people. You can find a listing of local churches, general information, phone numbers and directions within the Opelika-Auburn news or by visiting http://www.oanow.com within the faith and values portion of the website.
Social networking is more than finding friends or getting to know new people. It improves your overall health. You do not have to make hundreds or even thousands of friends to build a credible social network. You will be amazed that many social networks are small in size and consist of at least one childhood friend.
These types of networks make you happier. Happier, because the friends always seem to be closer and understand you more. During times of grief, stress, or general dismay these friends know you best and remind you of the person you once were and always will be regardless of what situation you may be going through.
You remain healthier when involved in close social networks because these friends are easy to talk to, which relieves stress; therefore inadvertently preventing depression, eating disorders, heart disease, stroke, and many other disorders.
Remember, dependable friendships are easy to loose but harder to come by. You should make close friendships with those who share your same interest and opinions; but most of all with people who will be with you for the “long haul”. George Washington said it best when he said, “True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.”