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Posted: July 20, 2017 12:42 p.m.
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No to stress, yes to social wellness

July is Social Wellness Month! It is a great time to connect with people, and yourself. Healthy relationships are a vital component of health.  Did you know that social support enhances your quality of life and provides a buffer against life events? Many life events can trigger a stress response. Stress is “wear and tear” that can impact one’s mental, physical, and emotional health.  The effects of stress can either be positive or negative. On a positive side, stress can help compel you into action and sometimes add excitement to life.  On the other hand, negative stress has been linked to several health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, inability to think clearly, anxiety, obesity, and social withdrawal.

According to the National Institute of Health, healthy relationships are a vital component of health, play an important part in our social well-being, and help decrease the effects of stress on the body. People who have strong social networks tend to live longer, the heart and blood pressure respond better to stress, and enhance the immune system’s ability to fight off diseases.

Ideas for finding the right balance between stress and social wellness:
• Work out. Joining a gym or an exercise group allows you to meet new people while exercising.
• Take a walk or bicycle ride. Starting a walking or riding routine after dinner would not only give you another opportunity to be physically active, relieve stress, but it would also create more opportunities for you to meet your neighbors.
• Volunteer. Donate some of your time and hard work to a charity that is meaningful to you. You’ll feel good about the cause, and you’ll meet others with similar passions.
• Choose a hobby. Consider your interest and pursue them – you’re bound to find others with similar passions.
• Hunt the good stuff.  Adequate sleep and choosing healthy food choices are also paramount to being your best self. Maintain your emotional reserves, develop supportive relationships, and pursue realistic goals that are meaningful to you. Expect frustrations, failures, and sorrows---they are life events also.
 
You can’t eliminate all stress from your life, but you can learn how to deal with it in a healthy way.  So go ahead and grow your social network, relieve the stress, and experience the benefits and power of engaging in social wellness. Find the balance, enjoy your life, and release the stress. If stress becomes too overwhelming, get help. Talk to a counselor, teacher, friend or medical provider.

 If you would like more information, please contact Winn Army Public Health 912-435-5071.


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