Social support and social interaction are one of the most important factors in predicting the physical health and well-being of everyone, ranging from childhood through older adults. Although social interaction is complex, I believe that it is vital to human health, both mentally and physically.
Many people find it hard to open their hearts and share their feelings and problems. However, social interaction where people can express their feelings and share their problems with other people has a beneficial outcome on human health. Good social support might also help coping with stress and major life changes like a divorce, redundancy, moving house etc. It is proved that lonely people more often suffer from cardiovascular problems, stress and depression. Knowing that we are valued by others is an important psychological factor in helping us to forget the negative aspects of our lives, and thinking more positively about our environment. Friends and family can also reduce stress by saying things which boost a confidence and giving moral encouragement.
Social support not only helps improve a person’s well-being, it affects the immune system as well, where the lack of social interaction can negatively lead to first signs of depression and anxiety. However, we are still not sure about what comes first, depression or social isolation. With life-threatening conditions such as cancer or HIV/AIDS, a strong social network can aid in recovery and improve quality of life, which is very important for a mental health of a seriously ill person. During my study of Psychology I tested 40 women (aged 40-80) with chronic vertebral disorders. I proved that social support had a positive influence on better quality of the life (theatre visiting, socializing with friends and family, holidays etc.), which positively affected physical and mental health (less occurrence of depression and anxiety, better pain management).
Social interaction can also have a negative influence on human health. It happens especially if the main reference group has an anti-social behaviour (drug taking, alcohol overusing). In that case social interaction has a devastating outcome on mental and physical health and it is necessary to help the person to break up this kind of relation and find positive social support or either professional help.
It is highly appearing that our health is in some ways strongly dependent on other people. Social support and social interaction have a positive influence on human beings’ physical and mental health. It lowers occurrence of stress, depression, anxiety and also highly affects our endocrine-immune system. So at the end we can say People need People.
Tags: depression, health, social interactions, social support, stress