Social Connections & Your Health

Keeping strong social relationships can help improve your overall mental health

It is well known that a long walk with a friend or relaxing with your family and a movie are great ways to unwind from the week. What is not as well known is that having meaningful social connections, especially if you are dealing with a chronic illness such as kidney disease, may improve both your overall mood and health.

People who are coping with a chronic illness typically feel an emotional strain at one time or another as chronic illnesses can affect life aspirations, lifestyles, and even employment. In addition to physical symptoms, such as poor sleep, a lack of emotional support can also negatively affect a person’s ability to cope with their illness.

Studies have shown there is a possible link between social support and physical and mental health. Researchers believe individuals with lower levels of social support are more affected by stressful situations while those with higher levels of social support are in better health, regardless of their stress or stress levels.1

71% of people said they turn to friends or family in times of stress.2*

Some research suggests staying connected and building stronger social connections can lead to improved overall health, longer life spans, and increased mental stability.1 Technology has also helped create new channels for these beneficial relationships to take place. The accessibility to mobile texting groups and online communities are just two great ways to find some additional emotional support.

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The HelpAround app is one way to engage in an online community. Join the NxStage group to connect with other ESRD patients, care partners, and their friends and loved ones.

Developing strong social relationships is one of the ways you can remain connected to keep your mind and body healthy. Look for a local group, online chat group or organization, or plan a party with neighbors or friends to reap some healthy rewards.


Not sure where to start? Here are some fun ways to get social

References:
  1. Strom JL, Egede LE. The Impact of Social Support on Outcomes in Adult Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: a systematic review. Curr Diab Rep. 2012;12(6):769-781.

  2. Mental Health America. Connect with Others. Mental Health America. Retrieved from: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/connect-others. Accessed on: November 8, 2017.
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