The Hidden Aspects of Health
There are many factors that contribute to a healthy life, but some, like diet and physical activity, get more attention than others. There are other important factors for feeling well and staying healthy that are not discussed as often.
We will explore the less obvious aspects of health, such as our relationships with others, good hygiene habits, and the routine activities that make up our daily lives.
The feeling of being connected to others is an important part of what defines human beings. We as a social species depend on our connections to others for our development, physical and mental health, and wellbeing.
People who have strong social connections are known to be happier and have better mental health. Being connected to others is an important way to help your mental health, especially during tough times.
During the pandemic, people who maintained some form of social contact were more protected from mental health issues.
This is in line with the World Happiness Report, which found that people’s social relationships are important to their wellbeing during the pandemic. More than 900 people were studied in Austria, and it was found that those with more social connections felt less stressed during the lockdown.
People who talked online or on the phone to their friends and family were less anxious and depressed, according to an analysis of data from more than 700,000 people who took part in a survey during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two thirds of people reported increased relaxation and mindfulness during the pandemic.
Socializing with others benefits our physical health too. Being around others may help us maintain healthy habits as our health behaviors are known to mirror those close to us.
A study from the 1980s found that social connection has a bigger impact on health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. More recent studies have found that people who have strong social bonds tend to have reduced rates of disease and live longer than those who don’t.
Loneliness has been connected to multiple health problems such as inflammation, heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, cognitive decline and dementia. Some people believe that loneliness should be classified as a disease.
Parts of our lives that we do regularly and take up a lot of time are called habits. What are the most important habits for maintaining good health?
There is decades of evidence that show that this habit is not good for you. If you smoke, quitting is the most important thing you can do for your health.
Smoking cigarettes is linked with more than 50 health conditions, including an increased risk of cancer, lung disease, diabetes, and heart disease. Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease globally, causing the deaths of over 80,000 people in the UK each year.
Although smoking may help to relieve stress in the short-term, it is not a good idea to use smoking as a long-term solution. Both the NHS and CDC offer several resources to help you quit smoking.
Many people drink alcohol as part of their daily routine. It’s okay to have an occasional drink, but it’s important to know the guidelines for drinking.
In the United States, the CDC recommends limiting alcoholic beverage intake to two drinks or fewer per day for men and one drink or fewer per day for women. The recommended amount of alcohol for adults in the UK is 14 units per week. This is equivalent to seven standard glasses of wine.
It’s important to not only monitor your overall alcohol intake, but also to spread your drinking out over a few days if you have 14 or more drinks in a week. Binge drinking should also be avoided.
The body can only process one unit of alcohol per hour, meaning that if you drink more than one unit of alcohol, it will take your body longer to process it and will put extra strain on your system. Binge drinking can make it difficult to think clearly and make good decisions, which can lead to accidents.
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause long-term health problems such as heart disease, some types of cancer, immune system problems, cognitive problems, and dementia, as well as social and mental health problems.
There have been reports that people are drinking more or more often during the COVID pandemic. 60% reported drinking, while 13% reported drinking less during the pandemic.
However, drinking more was also associated with other less healthy habits, like eating more savory snacks or sweets, and being less physically active.
Health Benefits of Strong Relationships
The strength and number of your relationships throughout your life affect your mental and physical wellbeing.
The benefits of maintaining social connections and good mental health are numerous and well-documented. There are many benefits to having close relationships, including reducing anxiety and depression, increasing self-esteem, becoming more empathetic, and developing more trusting and cooperative relationships.
Healthy relationships have many benefits, including boosting your immune system, helping you recover from disease, and possibly lengthening your life.
The positive effects of these benefits not only make you happier, but also encourage those around you to want to spend time with you.
Social connectedness creates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
Impact of Loneliness on Health
Loneliness can have dramatic consequences for your health. Loneliness can lead to disrupted sleep patterns, elevated blood pressure, and increased cortisol (a stress hormone).
It can make your immune system weaker and make you feel less happy. being alone can lead to antisocial behavior, depression and suicide.
Older people are particularly vulnerable. If you have trouble moving around, it can be more difficult to socialize. However, older people who remain connected with others and have strong relationships are likely to:
- have a better quality of life
- be more satisfied with their life
- have a lower risk of and mental decline
- need less domestic support.
Young people can also be at risk when they are isolated from others. This is especially true for teenagers and people in their 20s.
If a young person does not have many social relationships, it can negatively affect their physical health by increasing the risk of obesity, inflammation, and high blood pressure.
A varied social network can help protect against physical decline, including heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Even if your other risk factors for mortality are low, the benefits of social ties are significant.
You don’t just need to be physically healthy to be happy and well, you also need to have a strong social life.
It is important to be aware that loneliness is not the same as being alone. Feeling lonely is a problem that can be solved by spending time with others, but being alone may not be a problem at all and may even be beneficial. Many people live alone and have happy, fulfilling lives.
Looking After Yourself
There are several things you can do to maintain your health, such as protecting yourself against infections and staying up to date with your regular medical appointments.
It is important to wash your hands thoroughly and to wear a mask if you are feeling unwell but need to go out and mix with others.
This will help to protect you and others not only from COVID-19 but also any other viruses and bacteria that may be spreading.
One in six Americans suffer from food poisoning every year, which leads to a large number of serious illnesses.
It is important to practice good food hygiene, including washing your hands before handling food and taking care with raw meat, to avoid an upset stomach or worse.
Vaccines are an important and successful way to protect our health against diseases.t is important to get your vaccine and booster shots when you are invited to do so.
In addition to the above mentioned shots, this also applies to any other shots your family may need, such as immunizations for childhood diseases, annual flu shots, or vaccinations required for traveling. Health checkups and screenings are important not only for diagnosing problems early but also for maintaining good health.
Cancer screenings, such as cervical, breast, and bowel cancer screenings, can detect cancer early and save lives. You may choose to take up any cancer screening invites you receive.
If you have any existing health conditions, you should make sure you keep up to date with any medications, tests, and appointments you may need.
Improving Social Connections
Feeling lonely is hard to cope with. There are things you can do to reduce the feelings of loneliness that you experience. Having positive relationships with people who make you feel good can be beneficial to your health. Try to set aside time each day to communicate with someone.
There are 3 kinds of connections that you can have with people:
Intimate connections are relationships with people who you have a close bond with and who care for you. These people can be family members or friends.
Relational connections are relationships with people who you see regularly and share an interest with, such as workmates or those who serve your morning coffee, provide social capital
Collective connections are relationships with people who share something in common with you, like political views or religion.
Do you have close relationships with your family, friends, and co-workers?
You might have trouble making new friends if you’re used to hanging out with the same people all the time. You may prefer the company of those who don’t know about your past. Be honest with yourself about your social habits.
What relationships do you have with people, and what kind of relationships would you like to have? You may want to forge new friendships or work to strengthen your current relationships.
One way to strengthen relationships is by staying in touch with co-workers, family, friends, or neighbors. Reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while and let them know you’d like to catch up.
Consider arranging to do something enjoyable with someone else, like grabbing coffee or a meal, listening to music, playing golf, or chess. Think about the interests you share. Facebook and other social media platforms are great ways to stay in touch with friends and family.
Meeting New People
There are lots of ways to meet new people. Talk to the people you see every day to get to know them better. This can be the people on your bus in the morning, people at the gym or park, or the regular checkout operators at your supermarket.
It’s a good idea to be careful when meeting new people, and a good way to do that is to meet in a public place where there are other people around.
Other ideas for staying active include joining a sports team, a walking group, or a hobby group. Another option is to volunteer.
You can find out about local groups or programs by contacting your local council, or by visiting your local community center or library. There are always events happening in your community.
Get to Know What’s Normal for You
Perhaps the most crucial thing you can do for your wellbeing is to routinely check in with yourself, so you become familiar with what is typical for you. After all, you’re the expert on yourself.
The best way to know if something is wrong with your health is to be aware of what your body is normally like.
It’s a good idea to keep track of how you’re usually feeling in terms of things like how much sleep you get, chronic pain, and how often you experience any symptoms of ill health. That way, you can tell when something isn’t right.
READ MORE: 19 Ways to Get Inner Peace and Happiness