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  • Jasmine Blake, MS, HHP

Is Social Wellness Important?


Defining Wellness


I thought I'd define wellness just the same as every other professional source. When I searched for definitions and meanings, I found a few different sources. First, I discovered that the Dictionary writes 'well-being' as “(1) a state of being comfortable, healthy, and happy; (2) a state of good or satisfactory condition of experience.” [6].The same source also writes wellness is “(1) the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind; (2) especially as the result of deliberate effort; (3) and an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life.” [7]. I could even argue the similarities and differences between these definitions. Nonetheless, in my mind, I wonder about my well-being and wellness together equally. As a nutritionist, I define wellness as a state of well-being. It is something an individual does to enhance their physical body, thought of the mind, and even inner spirit.


Is Social Wellness Important?


Social wellness is important because of a number of things.

  1. It is healthy to speak to other people, so we can learn how to interact.

  2. When around other people, we also learn about our likes and dislikes.

  3. It's a necessary evil to have to physically be in contact with another human being to experience emotions.


Models of Wellness


I cultivate a ‘bigger picture’ of well-being for myself through behavior change on an interpersonal level. I do this through the Transtheoretical Model of behavior change. [5]. Although the Health Belief Model and Transtheoretical Model are quite similar, they have their differences, and this is why it is difficult to choose between the two of them. [5]. The Health Belief Model focuses on risk and self-efficacy, which is equally as effective. [5]. In weighing risks constantly, the Transtheoretical Model of behavior change would have been the more probable one to choose. [5].


It is good to note that the Transtheoretical Model focuses on readiness to perceive. As part of a behavior change, one has to be willing to accept where they falter most to be most successful. It takes inner strength to make a complete change, and even so, a successful turnaround. I use my experiences when practicing self-care as personal tools and strategies, to initiate a sincereness of caring for others that come to me for strengthening their wellness. Using my experiences is essential to develop others, through their perception. It is also necessary to restore their health in their underdeveloped wellness areas.


Chosen Wellness Behavior


Just like everyone else, I have chosen social wellness as the significant behavior that I feel most people are underdeveloped in. I also think occupational wellness is the co-behavior that I believe society needs to focus on making serious changes. Although changes need to be made, these changes shouldn't have to distance us as a community of individuals in fear of certain health and economic standards.


The occupational dimension recognizes personal satisfaction, and the social dimension encourages contributing to one’s environment and community. [2]. Both of these dimensions be experienced in groups or individually. However, together these will both encompass the degree and quality needed of interactions that will occur with others, with the community, as well as, with health and nature.


The Risks of Being Social


There are risks in being social. However, are these risks only physical-based? There are also the perspectives of being able to understand, distinguish, and realize what is within our reach; and this can affect mental and emotional matters in addition to physical attributes.


The reasons why social wellness behaviors affect the occupational wellness dimension because there are social risks. Without these, we wouldn't be who we are. In my mind, social wellness is all about everything that surrounds you, in your environment, and how you react to it. Therefore, occupational wellness is indeed a factor also. The initiative towards social wellness should be to change this behavior by using the Transtheoretical Model and taking these two dimensions of wellness into consideration consistently to make a change herein.


What Exactly is Social Wellness


Social Wellness is about balancing your physical, emotional, and spiritual health; almost similar to the well-being and wellness definitions above. Being social is the ability to have healthy relationships among people you know or people you are bound to meet, and keeping those relationships. I also believe being social is having the confidence from within to communicate outwardly, and the courage on the outside to accept things inwardly.


Social is “characterized by friendly companionship; connecting with.” [4]. The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” [8].This definition confirms there are three certain areas of wellness that need to be mastered to have complete wellness, and ‘social’ is one of them. Nonetheless, by taking physical connections away, we take away a piece of all of us.


What Exactly is the Transtheoretical Model


The authors and researchers of the book Health Behavior and Health Education, define the Transtheoretical Model as “using stages of change to integrate processes and principles of change across major theories of intervention.” [1]. The Transtheoretical Model has six constructs that describe the Stages of Change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination. A person will find themselves in the preparation stage if they plan to take action to make a change in their social wellness area and have already taken some steps towards this behavior change.


The question is: Are we ready to do this?


The Transtheoretical Model also has ten constructs that describe the Processes of Change, two constructs that define Decisional Balance, and two constructs that scale Self-efficacy. [1]. A person can find themselves in the Self-liberation process of change if they are making a firm commitment to change their behavior and outlook of society to strengthen their social wellness. Also, most people weigh between the two constructs of decisional balance by realizing the pros and cons of particular changes. Furthermore, they consider between the two constructs of self-efficacy in trying to balance confidence and temptation. [1].


Understanding that no theory can be the sole reason for behavior change, I chose the Transtheoretical Model of behavior change. This reason is that this is the one model that delves into a person's readiness to perceive. If you are not willing to develop your interpersonal self or see that change may even be needed, this model will inevitably not work. The positive aspect about this model is “people can apply a common set of change processes across a wide variety of range of behaviors.” [1].


Wellness Change Goals and Barriers


To outline goals of change, a person must define specific social wellness goals for themselves and be honest about these goals. Fear and hope are not reasons to sulk and they are only barriers from keeping a person open to the real truths in the world. The only actual barrier keeping a person from making a real change is ‘themselves,’ the number one barrier of all time. Every excuse is built on this barrier (e.g.: ‘If I cannot see the change or am unwilling to make the change, then I will not change’). This reason is why the Transtheoretical Model is best suited; it’s behavior-oriented. Only a person's behavior can keep themselves from becoming successful, and it is all in how they perceive what is coming at them. So, just keep going and don't stop!


The stages and experiences in people's lives are what it is going to take to either make them or break them. To break this barrier, one is going to have to be ready to perceive things differently, but be opened minded and less biased to things that come to pass. To triumph the social wellness barrier, a person can conquer it if the person contributes to one environment and community. This person has to be aware of their impact on the world around them. They need to emphasize their interpersonal skill between others and nature. Lastly, this person has to actively seek communication with those that are around, without feelings of guilt, and improve the world by encouraging healthier living.

References:

  1. Glanz, K., Rimer, B. K. & Viswanath, K. (2008). Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory Research, and Practice (4th Ed.). CA: Jossey-Bass.

  2. Hettler, B. (1976). Six dimensions of wellness model. National Wellness Institute, Inc. Retrieved from https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.nationalwellness.org/resource/resmgr/docs/sixdimensionsfactsheet.pdf

  3. Miller, G. & Foster, L. T. (2010). Critical synthesis of wellness literature. University of Victoria: Faculty of Human and Social Development & Department of Geography. http://www.geog.uvic.ca/wellness/Critical_Synthesis%20of%20Wellness%20Update.pd

  4. Social. (n.d.). Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/social?s=t

  5. Stone, D. (2013). The Health Belief Model and the Transtheoretical Model: Similarities and Differences Similarities. Retrieved from URL: http://psychological-musings.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-health-belief-model-and.html

  6. Well-being. (n.d.). Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/wellbeing

  7. Wellness. (n.d.). Dictionary Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/wellness?s=™

  8. Constitution of The World Health Organization (45th Ed.). (2006). World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/governance/eb/who_constitution_en.pdf

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