6 strategies for improving your social health
From the time you’re born, your relationships help you learn to navigate the world. You learn how to interact with others, express yourself, conduct everyday health habits, and be a part of different communities from those around you. Positive social habits can help you build support systems and stay healthier, mentally and physically.
- Make connections. Social connections might help protect health and lengthen life. Scientists are finding that our links to others can have powerful effects on our health. Whether with family, friends, neighbors, romantic partners, or others, social connections can influence our biology and well-being. Look for ways to get involved with others.
- Take care of yourself while caring for others. Many of us will end up becoming a caregiver at some point in our lives. The stress and strain of caregiving can take a toll on your health. It’s important to find ways to care for your health while caring for others. Depending on your circumstances, some self-care strategies may be more difficult to carry out than others. Choose ones that work for you.
- Get active together. Where you live, work, or go to school can have a big impact on how much you move and even how much you weigh. Being active with others in your community can have a positive effect on your health habits and create opportunities to connect. You can help your community create ways to encourage more physical activity.
- Bond with your kids. Parents have an important job. Raising kids is both rewarding and challenging. Being sensitive, responsive, consistent, and available to your kids can help you build positive, healthy relationships with them. The strong emotional bonds that result help children learn how to manage their own feelings and behaviors and develop self-confidence. Children with strong connections to their caregivers are more likely to be able to cope with life’s challenges.
- Build healthy relationships. Strong, healthy relationships are important throughout your life. They can impact your mental and physical well-being. As a child, you learn the social skills you need to form and maintain relationships with others. But at any age, you can learn ways to improve your relationships. It's important to know what a healthy relationship looks like and how to keep your connections supportive.
- Shape your family’s health habits. Many things can influence a child, including friends, teachers, and the things they see when they sit in front of the TV or computer. If you’re a parent, know that your everyday behavior plays a big part in shaping your child’s behavior, too. With your help, kids can learn to develop healthy eating and physical activity habits that last throughout their lives.
NIH scientists study how your family, relationships, and communities impact your health and well-being. Read more resources from the NIH institutes advancing research in these areas.