The state of our mental health has a clear impact on our physical health. Our social relationships contribute a lot to our development as an individual with thoughts and ideologies, that are shaped enough, right or wrong. This way our social relationships have a conspicuous connection with our physical health.
How Do Social Relationships Influence Our Health?
The nature and depth of social interaction are crucial in deciding its impact on our physical health and well-being. An uplifting conversation filled with positivity in the morning will influence your physical activity, food selection and other choices you make during the remaining part of the day.
Across one’s lifespan, the quantity and quality of social interactions play vital roles. Older adults start noticing shrinkage in their networks as a part of their aging. However, their networks tend to remain more stable. Advancing to old age means you have to face social losses with greater frequency. However, the satisfaction from relationships tends to increase with age.
Health benefits from relationships are dependent on their type and nature. Marital partners offer instrumental assistance, emotional support and companionship; all that can have a positive impact on one’s health. For parents, adult children often stand as emotional and instrumental support. The value and significance of sibling relationships keep increasing in later life. Friendship too has several positive impacts on our well-being.
Marriage within a socially supportive network and marriage within a socially isolated world have different impacts on our health.
How Do Relationships Influence Our Health?
Here are the mechanisms by which relationships impact our health.
Perceptions and appraisals of social relationships is a psychological mechanism that has an influence on our health state. Judgments made by one about their social network are called appraisals. They can be positive or negative. People who view their friends and families as supportive have reported that they find it easier to stay optimistic in life. In fact, the perceptions of social support are more influential than the actual amount of support when it comes to our well-being.
Some studies have found that there is an inverse relationship between biological threats and social relationships. Threatened social connections could trigger the activation of our physiological alarm system.
In addition to biological and psychological mechanisms discussed above, social mechanisms are also crucial in the positive or negative impacts on health.
Better social interactions and support structures are instrumental in ensuring that a population does not struggle due to poor health triggered or worsened by improper social interactions.