The Impact of Social Relationships on The Health of College Students
Social relationships are one of the least explored parts of mental health. We live in a world where most people hide behind their keypads and prefer social media to real-life connections. Most college students in this category struggle with feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Why? Being social is nature’s way to help us achieve fulfillment. Social relationships create a sense of connection. It also promotes purpose and support and positively affects our health. If you didn’t know, this article will help you understand why you need connections to thrive in college.
What Are Social Relationships?
According to Aristotle, man is, by nature, a social creature. Social or communal relationships are connections that exist between people with recurring interactions perceived to have a personal meaning. It includes relationships between neighbors, friends, family members, or associates. Social relationships do not include fleeting contacts or accidental interactions, as they have limited significance.
Communal relationships can be voluntary or involuntary. It involves an interpersonal link between two or more people. It includes the dynamics of interactions, bounded and regulated by cultural norms. Such relationships encourage socialization.
Socialization prepares undergraduates to participate in groups. It teaches societal norms and expectations. College professors teaching anthropology assign essays about sociology to encourage research into the three primary goals of socialization. If you need help, use the best sociology essay examples for college students
for topic ideas. There are free essay examples on different aspects of behavior and society you can use for inspiration.
Contrary to popular opinion, better social relationships are not limited to physical interactions. It cuts across online discussions indicated by the use of social cues. By the way, cues are verbal or non-verbal signals expressed through the body, voice, face, and motion. They guide interactions by influencing impressions and responses to others.
Why Social Health Is Important?
Psychologists define social health as the ability to form secure connections with others. Not only this, but to develop trust, explore, and learn from such connections. It comes down to two things:
The ability to build healthy relationships. This includes platonic friends, romantic and professional friendships, and family members.
The quality of such connections. It is measured by the duration and ability to connect meaningfully.
Social relationships contribute to a student’s overall health and quality of life. They form a strong support system that promotes better mental and physical health. Social isolation is the opposite of a relationship. It is linked to the following:
High blood pressure
Depression and anxiety, etc
Socialization triggers a part of the nervous system that regulates response to stress and anxiety. It also generates dopamine and acts like naturally-produced morphine. Below are the advantages of forming connections:
It Helps the Brain
Interacting with others improves memory connection and recall and shields the brain
from neurodegenerative diseases. When you’re socially motivated to learn, the brain processes information better than the analytical network in contrast to when you memorize.
It Helps You Form Helpful Habits
Individuals who spend time around people with shared ideology remain on track longer than people who don’t. This is why people who exercise in a group achieve better results than others who prefer solo interest. The communal benefit of coming together and doing something fun serves as a source of encouragement.
It Promotes Happiness and Longevity
Social life in college improves overall life satisfaction in the long run. People with close friendships have a lower rate of depression and anxiety. In contrast, students who lack social connections develop sleep problems and have trouble concentrating.
Social life and mental health are closely connected. Valuable connections release hormones like oxytocin that reduce stress and anxiety levels. It also helps you focus your energy outward, which is valuable when you are stuck in your head. With someone you trust in your corner, you can reach out for help instead of bottling your feelings.
How To Stay Healthy in College?
College students face additional stressors. They include lesson pressures, extracurricular, and financial challenges. As a result, it is easy to become socially disconnected and risk major depressive disorders. The signs of being healthy include:
You balance your alone and social time without overdoing it. You know how to strike a balance between connecting with friends and caring for yourself
You are assertive without being aggressive. In ugly situations, you communicate your needs and set healthy boundaries without experiencing negative emotions
You can be yourself and remain comfortable in your skin. In other words, you feel a sense of meaning and belonging in who you are, and you don’t feel ashamed or afraid of exclusion
You treat others with respect, and you don’t bring people down to improve how you feel
You don’t let the pressures of life affect how you have fun. Despite all odds, you make time for interactions and fun activities with others
You have a strong social network to lean on in times of need. Not only this, but you are part of a community
The signs above are the ways to know whether you are socially healthy or not. If none applies to you, work on yourself. Follow these tips to stay healthy in college:
Join a Club or Community
The educational environment is one of the best places to make friends. It is even easier if you live on campus. If you do, join a club and connect with people that share common interests. Attend social events on the weekend and walk into rooms to interact with people. Make the first move and have fun.
The secret to making friends is to keep an open mind. So, when you attend an event, say more yes than no. It can lead to discovering new friends or hobbies. You can also volunteer a few times a week.
There are lots of social media platforms you can join to connect with peers. Besides campus pages, explore external forums for reach outside the school environment. Try video and text chatting, games, and discussion forums.
News places encourage interactions. Travel exposes you to different people and cultures. It also provides an opportunity to remain physically active. In the process, talk to people and develop your friendship.
Find a Hobby
Practicing something you like can help you meet new people. If you enjoy bird watching, get out there and meet people who like doing the same. Apart from hobbies, learn something new.
Staying social has a lot of mental and physical benefits. But in your attempt to forge connections, practice self-care. Also, take things slowly. Don’t rush to have deep, life-altering conversations with everyone. Have boundaries, but don’t set the bars so high. Improve your communication skills and commitments and focus on quality connections, not quantity.