In our latest blog series, we are looking at the eight pillars of wellness and considering how each, when maintained and supported, can allow us to become the healthiest version of ourselves.
In our first blog article, we look at the pillar of relational wellness.
What is relational wellness?
How we connect with others is fundamental to our sense of health and wellbeing. Relational (or ‘social’) wellness alludes to the strength and supporting nature of the relationships and connections we forge across our lives – whether it be with family, friends, partners, colleagues, or the wider community.
Achieving relational wellness requires the building of healthy, nurturing, and supportive relationships as well as cultivating a genuine connection with those around you.
Why is relational wellness important to overall wellbeing?
Relational wellness plays an incredibly important role in your overall sense of wellbeing. For instance, it is said that each of us needs between 8-10 meaningful touches per day to be mentally and emotionally healthy, so it’s no wonder that some people feel like something is missing.
Furthermore, a study on a subset of the population used for Harvard’s acclaimed Study of Adult Development found that participants who spent more time with others reported greater levels of happiness. [i] This certainly shows the extent to which humans are innately social beings.
While social interactions and intimacy no doubt bring happiness, our relationships can also offer support during the more difficult times. It is therefore beneficial to continually dedicate effort and energy towards nurturing these relationships so you have people there for you when you need them most – and equally, so your loved ones feel they can call on you when things get tough.
The impact of surrounding yourself with those that care for you can’t be understated. The ability to turn to someone for support and understanding is powerful, while a feeling of community and connection is important to building resiliency and combatting stress being vital skills to carry you through life.
It’s important to consider that, just like life, relationships have their ups and downs. Healthy conflict resolution is a good skill to have to ensure that your relationships can weather those storms and come out the other side without resentment, and unacknowledged or unresolved feelings.
How can I assess my relational wellness?
Below are some questions to think about when assessing your relational wellness.
- Do you have a solid support network of family and friends?
- Does your support network also engage you?
- Do you have meaningful and fulfilling relationships?
- Are you contributing to your community?
- Do you ‘play’ enough?
- Do you have enough down time?
- Do your hobbies satisfy and inspire you?
How can you achieve relational wellness?
Here are 5 top tips to help kickstart your journey into boosting your relational wellbeing:
- Meet new people through online social networks, community events, or volunteering for a cause you feel passionate about.
- Reflect on your social and relational needs. What aspects of your social life do you enjoy? What parts would you like to improve?
- Work on developing your social intelligence. In conversations show curiosity without being intrusive, listen attentively without interrupting, and tune into people’s needs to ascertain what might benefit them from your interaction.
- Set a recurring time weekly to reach out to friends and family who don’t live close by. Connect with someone new each week to keep those relationships strong.
- Revisit the idea of pen pals. Connecting with loved ones through handwritten communication is so special in this digital age and can strengthen bonds.
It should be noted that the path to wellness is not one size fits all, but the common thread for everyone is that wellness requires a holistic approach. The eight pillars are not prescriptive but should help form the basis of a personalised journey.
While there are many ways for you to take charge of your relational wellness, the help, guidance, and experience of a wellness professional can give you the boost you need, when you need it most.
If you would like to develop your relational wellness but don’t know where to start, please use the Wellness Wide directory here to find a professional today.
 Ask the Scientists. The 8 Pillars of Holistic Health and Wellness. Available at https://askthescientists.com/pillars-of-wellness/. [Last accessed 22.06.2021].