How Social Connections Benefit Healthy Living – Society of Behavioral Medicine

Connect with us
Social connection is the experience of interacting with and feeling close to others. This involves having regular contact or social interactions with others and developing relationships that help us feel valued, cared for, and loved.
Staying socially connected is an essential part of developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Individuals who are socially connected tend to stay healthier and live longer.
Despite the known benefits of social connections, we have been increasingly socially isolated as a society. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a downward trend in social support and connection that only got worse in quarantine. Overall, Individuals are spending significantly less time in social activities and interacting with others.
In fact, the United States (U.S.) Office of Surgeon General has identified both social isolation and loneliness as critical public health issues that devastate lives and society. Although anyone can experience social isolation, minoritized Americans, younger adults, and those of lower income are at greater risk.
Experiences of social isolation may contribute to and amplify other social indicators of health, such as food insecurity and housing instability in socially vulnerable groups and increase health disparities.
Risks of social isolation include:
Whereas benefits of social connections include:
As you work towards a healthier lifestyle and develop your health goals, be sure to include plans for increasing your healthy, positive social connections. Staying socially engaged is as important as adopting healthy eating habits or a physical fitness plan. To strengthen your social connections, focus on quantity, quality, and diversity of social relationships.
Quantity of positive relationships: Increase the number of people that you know, depend on, or interact with, even on a casual basis. 
Quality: Invest in positive relationships so that you feel closer to others. While every social relationship and interaction matters, even a casual conversation with the cashier at the grocery store, we also need meaningful and deeper relationships with people we can trust.
Diversity: Develop different types of positive relationships and get to know people from different circles or social situations. Just as it is important to eat a wide variety of nutritious food (e.g., fruits, vegetables, grains, protein) to support overall health, it is also beneficial to maintain a variety of social relationships. For example, consider depending on different relationships for emotional support, fun, spiritual advice, etc.
SBM: The Secret Behind Successful Behavior Change Using the ACT2 Method
Learn about a method for using small changes in your day-to-day routine to achieve long-term health goals.
Read more
SBM: 5 Easy Ways to Get More Active
You can meet your exercise goals with these easy tips for getting more active and sticking with your routine. Learn more about getting active today.
Read more
SBM: How to Eat More Fruit and Vegetables
So many people have trouble imagining how to reach the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Here are some ideas to get you to the recommended daily vegetable and fruit servings each day.
Read more
« Back to Healthy Living

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use
© 2024 Society of Behavioral Medicine.


Leave a Comment