Improve Your Social Fitness With These Fun Challenges
You know the importance of exercising your body to keep yourself physically strong, and you might do crossword puzzles or brain teasers to stay mentally fit. But have you given much thought to your social fitness?
According to researchers John and Stephanie Cappioco in their study of social fitness, “We are social creatures. We have a social muscle. The more we exercise it, the happier we’ll all be.”
But how can you exercise your social muscles? There are many different challenges you can give yourself to break isolating habits and strengthen bonds with friends and family, improving your social fitness. Here are some of our favorites, including both small everyday challenges and larger ones.
In Person Challenges
No matter how much time you spend online, it’s important to keep nurturing your offline connections with friends and family. You can also improve your social health by challenging yourself to interact more with strangers and become more involved in your community.
- Before turning to Google to answer a question, reach out to a friend or family member who might know the answer.
- Host a small dinner party with guests who don’t know each other very well. All of your guests will have to exercise their social muscles right along with you!
- If you notice a co-worker or friend having a rough week, surprise them with a fancy coffee drink or another treat. Small acts of generosity are a great way to exercise your social muscles.
- Start a small book club.
- Challenge yourself to smile at five strangers a day.
- If you take public transportation, put away your phone or book and focus on the people around you, at least for part of your ride.
Fabriq: Communal by Nature | Communication
5 Steps to Transform Your Dinner Party to Create Meaningful Conversations
Whether you live in a small apartment or you’re hosting a dinner party at a restaurant, use these tips for meaningful time with friends. There’s no need to be fancy or overdo it on the etiquette (unless you like that sort of thing, of course!).
While some people bemoan the internet as a driver of social isolation, the reality is that it can be used in many different ways, including as a tool for healthy connections. But those connections require work. If you find yourself just scrolling through social media feeds when you’re online, you may need to do some social exercises to make sure that you’re making strong connections in your digital life.
- Find a great photo of you and a friend, and text it to them to say “hello”.
- Reply to texts with videos of yourself: your friends will be surprised and delighted to see your face.
- Write a love note to a friend and send it to them. Strengthening social muscles isn’t just about making more connections, it’s about strengthening the ones you have.
- Take the time to handwrite a postcard or letter to a distant friend or relative. They’ll be thrilled to find something besides junk mail in their mailbox.
- Challenge your friends to an online inspiring quote exchange. It will strengthen your bonds and provide you with some uplifting inspiration.
- If you see a friend post about a difficulty in their life, try reaching out to them directly to offer help, rather than just commenting on their post.
- If you’re a member of a group on Facebook or other social media sites, suggest that the group start a holiday gift exchange to add a more personal connection.
- Download Fabriq and add everyone you want to keep in touch with.
Listen on Wellness 3.0: Social Media | Mark Shapiro
Podcast: How to Use Technology & Social Media to Feel More Connected
Mark Shapiro is on a mission to figure out how we can deepen our social connections using social media – which in many cases can seem like an oxymoron – as well as examine relationship building fundamentals, and empower people to prioritize the things that matter: authentic living and genuine support and connection.
On Your Own
There are some tasks you can do by yourself that will still improve your social fitness. Becoming more aware of how you interact with the world can help you feel better prepared for social challenges.
- If you don’t use one already, start a journal. You don’t have to write every day, but make note of some of your social challenges and goals as they come to mind.
- For some people, practicing meditation can decrease their anxiety, helping them to handle social engagement more calmly.
What other social fitness challenges can you come up with to improve your own social health? It’s not as daunting as you might think to start working those social muscles and building better connections.
You’re Communal by Nature
These days, most folks find it easier to lock eyes with a screen than with another person, but on a social level, we’re biologically built to avoid loneliness in order to live happier, healthier, and longer lives. In the era of the great “disconnection epidemic,” when we’re more likely to kick back than venture out, it’s tougher than ever to maintain a tight-knit crew.
That’s where Fabriq slips in and works its magic for the relationships that matter most to you.
It’s important to strike a balance between using technology as a helpful social tool and abusing it as a quick social fix to avoid real-life interactions. Digital wellness is a term used to describe how well you strike that balance.
Being honest with yourself about who you’re most invested in is the first step to organizing your friends into circles of closeness.
Set your sights on strong relationships and deeper connections to keep your social health booming. Need help? These conversation-starting questions really do the trick.