Social Wellness is attending to our needs to interact with others. We were built to live in community and depend on others for our survival, so meeting our social needs is crucial for our health and wellness.
Music creates social bonds through shared emotional experiences. I attended a concert once where the performer encouraged the audience to sing along with the favorite songs. I immediately felt connected to the strangers around me in ways I would not have had we just sat and listened. At a retreat once, the participants spent the evenings gathered in a common area and sang folk songs. I felt closer and more connected to those participants than I did to other participants at similar retreats where we did not spend time singing together.
I am an introvert, so social gatherings take a lot of energy for me to attend and even more to initiate, yet they are still important to my well-being. Here are some ways to address social wellness through music:
1. Attend a concert with a friend. Small venues and one or two friends help my introverted self feel more comfortable, but I also find joy in attending large performances. If we can balance the large events by following up with dinner with just a few friends, that helps me recharge and nurture the relationship I have with those friends.
2. Make music together. Before there were TVs, people got together in living rooms to listen to or make music together. If you’re not a music-making kind of person, invite a few friends over and include someone who plays guitar and can sing a few songs. Though, I strongly encourage you to rethink your “non-music-making” status, because music-making is a biological imperative!
3. Create a social playlist. If you need to ease into social events and music-making, then try this: spend some time creating a playlist that will work as background music for a social gathering. Try having it on in the background and invite a friend over for coffee. Background music can fill awkward silences and make them less awkward. It can also provide a conversation starter. My recommendation is to use instrumental music, so that the song lyrics don’t interfere with the conversation.
How do you address your social wellness? Let me know in the comments!