Mommin ain’t easy but with friends it is better. This is the new t-shirt slogan available at my mom’s club. This statement doesn’t just apply to mommies but women and men in general, although, according to research women/moms depend more on friends than men and it’s in our DNA for socialization and friends. Friends are good for optimism, improves our emotional/social wellness and we live longer.
Happiness is Fundamental, Yet Contagious
First of all, according to Ed Diener and Martin Seligman, two leading experts in the field of happiness research, the happiest people are the most social and happiness is contagious because the need to belong is fundamental. A Harvard Medical School study of 5,000 suggests they found over 20 years that one person’s happiness spreads through their social group even up to three degrees of separation, and that the effect lasts as long as a year. On the flip side, sadness isn’t as contagious: While having a friend who’s happy improves your likelihood of being happy by 15 percent, having one who’s unhappy lowers your chances by just 7 percent.
Women are more likely to seek out social support (usually from other women) which may explain why stress affects men’s health more. Researchers say that daily social support is a key factor in feeling optimistic. Optimism, in turn, increases our satisfaction with life and lowers our risk of depression because we feel that if we have social support, our visual perception of challenges actually changes.
Don’t Isolate Yourself, Connect Face-to-Face
It is being said that more and more people are isolating themselves but I speak from experience first hand there is a major difference in my well-being when I push myself to make friends. Honestly I’ve always had a hard time going out of my way to make friends. A few years ago when I was a single mom my aunt had to persistently insist for me to join the local MOPS group to meet other moms/women because I had isolated myself. Took me a lot of encouragement and self-discipline to make myself get out of the house but I was glad to have met other positive women that go or have gone through the same trials and tribulations, where I could ask questions, share concerns, share in laughter and sorrow.
Three years later, I found this mom’s group that I’m currently in through researching my local area for mom support, specifically searching for MOPS. If you’re a mom or woman that doesn’t belong to a social group I highly encourage you to become apart of a support group such as Moms Club or MOPS. It’s fine to be apart of support groups on-line but technology truly has shifted the meaning of friendships for today’s generation.
I use to think it was too awkward and scary for me to meet new people but now I’m a leader and I’m constantly out there meeting new people and developing new relationships/friendships. I needed to improve my social and emotional wellness so I pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone and join two wonderful groups.
Ways to Improve Your Emotional/Social Wellness
Here’s a few ways you can improve your emotional/social wellness:
- Connect face-to-face with supportive people
- Get moving in fun ways such as building up family time such as playing more games, reading together, or being outdoors more (whether with family or another club), etc.
- Join more clubs that have a meaning to you (I am going to be looking into more photography and writing clubs for me)
- Find a variety of techniques for managing stress (you can find more online but I have mentioned a few in my previous blog Major Ways I Reduce Stress In My Chaotic Life
- Choose a diet rich in omega-3 fats to support mental health or take the Omega-3 Creme Delight supplement I mentioned in my Healthy Soil Equals Healthy You blog
- Invest in activities that give your life meaning and purpose such as volunteering somewhere you have a passion for. (I am gonna start volunteering at the Life Services Help Center here where I live. They help new parents, single parents and everything to do with parenting and finding work
- Engaging in work that gives meaning to you and others (My work includes helping others improve their overall wellness so I find it very inspiring, motivational, and meaning to not only me but everyone I help)
- Owning a pet
- Another thing that I do for my emotional/social wellness is helping more with my church ministries and singing on my worship team (my husband plays drums).
Two things I have a passion for and helps improve my emotional & social wellness. I sing on my worship team with my mother-in-law, father-in-law and another family from my church. I also am a Marketing Executive for what adds meaning to me and others. (I’m pictured with my father-in-law and mentor
Attention Men: Emotional/social wellness, nor stress, is not limited to women so everything above apply to you as well. Men don’t seek out and depend on friendships as much as women but stress is still a factor in men’s health which contributes to emotional/social wellness.
Melinda Smith, M.A., Robert Segal, M.A., Lawrence Robinson and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. describe emotional/social health the best “your mental and emotional health influences how you think, feel, and behave in daily life. It also affects your ability to cope with stress, overcome challenges, build relationships, and recover from life’s setbacks and hardships.”
Search for outlets, build friendships, distress your life, overcome setbacks/hardships and achieve some mental and emotional wellness.