Instant Gratification! Here are the answers to the four key questions that will tell you what the impact your degree of social wellness is having on your other health dimensions. The first three questions tell you how your social health is now and the fourth tells you if it is improving or on the decline.
How many close, personal friends do you have?
Research has shown that people with less than four close, personal friends do not get all the benefits available. Interestingly, there is little gain shown by having more than four. North America wide, the average person now has just two close, personal friends. 50% of the population have only one or none. The impact of social isolation on an individuals physical health has been estimated to be equal to that of smoking….
How often do you spend time with a close, personal friend?
Spending time less than once per week with a close personal friend means you are not fully enjoying all the health benefits available to you. Note that it does not have to be the same friend.
How many NEW close, personal friends have you made in the past twelve months?
It is an unfortunate fact of life that no matter what your age, over time all social circles suffer from attrition. Our friends move to another city, get married or divorced, or pass away. If you are not making new friends, your social circle slowly diminishes. Since this happens very slowly, few people are aware it is happening. If you have not made at least one new close, personal friend in the past year, your social wellness is on the decline.
How often do you engage in social activities NOT related to work or career?
Up to its peak during the early 1960’s, the average person belonged to at least one or two civic groups, Now the average person belongs to none. Joining one organized group that meets regularly will cut the probability of an individual dying in the next year in half. Joining two groups cuts it to one quarter.
Social Wellness is important to us as individuals and as members of our communities because it effects our individual physical and mental health and thus the overall health of our neighborhoods. On both levels it effects our financial health and our ability to effect change or to effectively deal with challenges. The social health of its citizens is important to governments because health costs are one of its largest expenses. A socially healthy citizenry is a key ingredient of democracy and will be essential in our ability to deal effectively with the challenges of the next decades.