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The importance of social contacts for mental well-being

Most of all, many people want a happy and contented life for their future. People feel good when they are healthy. Various factors play a role here, but above all mental health, which characterizes a state of complete mental and physical well-being. We want to approach the question of what role social contacts play for our emotional wellbeing - and in this context clarify how harmful their permanent absence can be for our physical condition.

In search of health: humans are "herd animals"

People do a lot for their health: ideally they reduce their tobacco consumption, drink less alcohol, eat a balanced diet and do more sport. But what also plays a special role for the human psyche is often neglected: mental health. From a social perspective, the topic is now being taken up and interpreted in different ways - the range of social media channels is only an indication of the human need to network and communicate. Of course, personal contacts and friendships come first and satisfy the basic need that we have from birth: to feel that we belong.

It has been scientifically proven many times that social contacts have a major influence on our emotional wellbeing. Loneliness and the lack of social ties can even make you sick in the long run. It has been proven that this isolation is comparable to the physical damage that occurs, for example, when smoking 15 cigarettes a day. In addition, the research shows that a lack of social connection is twice as bad as obesity. Social exclusion such as bullying also causes pain in the brain and has a high negative impact on our psyche. The fact is that people need to exchange ideas with their fellow human beings. They love affection, consolation and above all understanding and compassion in everyday but also difficult situations.

Friendship: a gift for the soul

"Friendship is not only a delicious gift, but also a constant task." (Ernst Zacharias)

A social trend shows that the number of single households has increased in recent years. However, life as a single person or in a single household does not have to be automatically lonely and unhealthy. Apart from the fact that a single household is no longer an indication of being single, close friendships have a similarly positive effect on our health as a couple relationship. Because friendship is an incredibly valuable asset, which is based above all on mutual trust, listening and being for one another. It is characterized by the fact that you can admit weaknesses in front of the other and get through difficult times more easily together. Of course, it is not always possible, let alone easy, to cultivate friendships in such a way that you see each other regularly - and a message in between or a long phone call can be enough for a certain period of time to maintain the close exchange. But personal contact in real life is what will really do you good. After all, it's about regular activities, discussions and, of course, above all, emotional support.

Recognize energy suckers and get rid of them

One insight is particularly important: It is not only important that you surround yourself with people, but also that these people are good for you. People who, for example, spread a bad mood, like to dump problems on others, constantly talk about others, but are not ready to listen to you and your thoughts, cause negative emotions and ultimately reactions. Protect yourself from these "energy suckers" and go through your social contacts in your mind with the following questions: Do you feel secure, understood, happy, good, relaxed and motivated or rather stressed, tense, annoyed with the people concerned, upset, frustrated or demotivated? It is by no means about individual phases, because every friendship has its ups and downs. Even a friendly, in-depth conversation can be exhausting and thought-provoking - you may need time for yourself first to digest everything. Rather, it is about the individual personality of a person. Which contacts do you find enriching, which as neutral and which as stressful? Be sure to break away from the latter, because they rob you of strength. It is better to invest your energy in people who enrich your life and your well-being. If this turns out to be difficult in individual cases for family reasons, try at least to limit the contact to a necessary minimum. This can also act as a personal relief and strengthen well-being.

Social contacts strengthen and protect the organism

So we have established: The influence of social contacts has a significant effect on your well-being - if they are the right contacts for you. They strengthen your immune system and protect against depression or other mental illnesses. They also improve the way you deal with stress and thereby strengthen your heart and circulation at the same time.

It may not be easy in the hustle and bustle of everyday working life - but time for your family and friends is good and valuable time invested. You will notice: Not only you, but also your (real) joys will be better in the long term.

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