Social Interactions and Our Health

How others affect our health

Jo Bibby, reporting for the UK’s Our Health, asked “How do our family, friends and community influence our health?”

“Going beyond the simple premise that human interactions are good for us and necessary to our wellbeing, this infographic shows how these relationships provide the foundations necessary for a healthy life.”

* “Feeling supported by others – and how this makes us feel about ourselves, our sense of agency and what we believe is possible – is evidently essential for our wellbeing. And it isn’t simply about having people who care for us. Just as important for our self-esteem is our own opportunity to care for and support others.”

* “Beyond our immediate relationships, our connections within and across the communities we are part of – where we live, where we learn, where we work – are all critical to feeling included and valued. Studies have shown that feelings of belonging and trust in others were the strongest predictor of mental wellbeing after controlling for physical health problems.

* “Acting on these feelings of inclusion – coming together with others in our communities to volunteer or participate in collective activities – enhances our sense of purpose and shared identity. It also improves our coping ability during times of stress.”

* “From community participation comes community empowerment. A flourishing society requires people to feel a sense of control and collective voice that can enable them to influence positive change. Community empowerment is increasingly being shown to be a route to addressing health inequalities.”

Social Interactions and Our Health