How social interactions help young adults to find relief when they are depressed?
Young adults who are inevitably going through major life changes while starting their adult life, usually lean on a support network to maintain a sense of belonging with this stable medium. Social support refers to „the emotionally sustaining qualities of relationships (e.g., a sense that one is loved, cared for, and listened to)”. Umberson et al. also pointed out, that being part of a social circle influences health behaviour, because it influences one’s control and habits in health in general. Members of social groups and relations can even unconsciously change together and in the same direction. Cohen found support for the effects of enhanced mental health due to social belonging. The sense of meaning and purpose, belonging somewhere, reduces stress and feelings of worthlessness. It is thus clear how important social relationships are in one’s life to maintain mental well-being.
Though social relationships have an impact on mental health, it is essential not to ignore its powerful influence on physical health as well. In fact, mental and physical health is strongly influenced by each other. Paul Jansons et al. found that motivation for exercise may be enhanced via social support and interaction between exercise group members with similar health issues. At the same time, the interactions flowing between members in the case of group sports, for instance, could be the reason for beneficial mental health outcomes. Since humans are social beings, surrounded by like-minded team members, working together towards the same goal and appreciating the teamwork can lead to positive symptoms. So social support in group exercise context may promote the satisfaction of competence and relatedness, which are basic psychological needs. Also, the group effect can encourage investment in a healthier lifestyle overall. Zhou, J., D. Heim, & K. O’Brien also proved that participation in team sports leads to higher levels of happiness than when playing individual sports.