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Home : Media : News
NEWS | March 7, 2024

How to build and maintain a healthy, long-term social life

By Aime Lykins, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

Social health can be described as the ability to interact and form meaningful relationships with others while positively nurturing those bonds. It also includes balancing the unique needs of each individual relationship.

Having a supportive social network allows one to develop assertive skills and become personally comfortable in social settings. Setting boundaries, building trust, fostering effective communication and managing conflict are all aspects of social health.

Building and maintaining social health is a long-term endeavor and may change over time based on lived experiences. There is no universal way to boost self-confidence but Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility offers a variety of structured group activities, such as Employee Resource Group, Toastmasters and Wellness Outreach Collaborative meetings, and self-development classes through Command University, which provide employees with opportunities to personally develop and practice social skills with like-minded individuals.

Those with extrovert qualities and tendencies may navigate social situations with ease and confidence, while others may struggle with self-esteem and feelings of belonging. A 2021 study published in the National Library of Medicine found that self-esteem and social adaptability impact several different health outcomes, such as the ability to sleep, physical stress responses and overall mental health. Resilience and self-esteem are attributes of positive psychology and are important indicators of positive mental health.

Resiliency enables individuals to cope with adverse situations and pressures, while self-esteem promotes self-acceptance, self-responsibility and self-maintenance. A 2017 study published in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Practice, Theory, Research and Education found that study participants reported increased self-esteem as a result of short, structured social activities such as book clubs, group fitness activities, and games or sports. Having stable, structured group activities can be a positive way to start building social confidence.

Four dimensions of social health include self-confidence, emotional adaptability, information processing, and tangible actions, such as meeting up for a cup of coffee or playing a sport. Boosting confidence requires identifying negative beliefs about oneself and challenging them. A good place to start is recognizing and identifying current skills and abilities, such as cooking, singing or playing a sport. Writing positive attributes down in a journal can help mentally process and internalize positive feelings about oneself. Other strategies for boosting confidence are going to therapy, finding a safe social space, spending time outside, practicing mindfulness and meditation, and collecting positive evidence, such as awards received at work, thank you notes, and letters or cards from loved ones.

For more information on building confidence and increasing self-esteem, the PSNS & IMF Wellness Outreach Collaborative can be reached at and the Command Counseling Program can be reached at (360) 340-2745. The Command University catalog can be found on SharePoint and employees are encourage to talk with their supervisors and training coordinators to select self-development classes to build confidence inside and outside of work.