This month’s focus is social wellbeing, and this article provides suggested products that can help you to reach your social goals.
So what is social wellbeing? One definition is “developing a sense of connection, belonging and a well-developed support system”. (M Swarbrick, 2006). This is important because it has been shown to have significant benefits for health and happiness.
For advice on how to improve your social wellbeing, check out my previous article: Live longer with friends!
However, you cannot pour from an empty cup. Before working on your social wellbeing, you’ll need to resolve any emotional issues. My recent articles on emotional wellbeing give some handy hints to work towards your emotional goals:
Below is my pick of the products to help you reach your social goals.
I use affiliate marketing, which means I receive a small commission for any products bought via the links below – at no extra cost to you. This does not in any way influence the products that I recommend.
For basic social skills
Firstly, Improve your social skills by Daniel Wendler is a good basic introduction to a range of social skills. The author has Asperger’s Syndrome, and taught himself social skills in a deliberate, calculated way. This book is his way of sharing his discoveries with anyone else who needs them. From this standpoint, it may be a bit basic if you already have reasonable social skills – this book is aimed at those who struggle in social situations. But for that target audience, it really hits the mark. Highly rated by customers, reviewers like its easy to read style, and the fact that the author has broken each activity down and not assumed any prior knowledge.
To communicate for success
Moving on from basic social skills, How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes provides great strategies for communicating for success. The book covers a range of scenarios, from first impressions to working a party like a politician. Lowndes presents a range of techniques for what to do and (just as important!) what NOT to do in each scenario.
And, the classic How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This book has stood the test of time. Whilst it was first published in 1936, it is still in the Amazon charts today! It has: Six ways to make people like you; Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking; Nine ways to change people without arousing resentment; and much more!
To build a deeper connection
Once you’ve established the relationship, I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships by Michael S. Sorensen will help you to deepen the connection using validation. With outcomes including preventing arguments and helping others be open to your point of view, many of the reviewers have used it to help romantic relationships. However, it can be used within any relationship, including at work, or with friends or family.
For romantic relationships
In addition to Sorensen’s book (above) The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert is the best-selling book for romantic relationships, and the go-to for many couples counsellors. It is based on science, but includes stories of practical application which makes it relatable. It also has a good mix of information and practical exercises.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk is the best-selling parenting book on Amazon. Filled with techniques to work through to bring peace into your household, it is simple and effective.
Another favourite of mine for parenting is Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. In this book, Dr Laura Markham introduces the concept of positive parenting, and provides parents with effective strategies to use to replace yelling.
We have this book in our house, and it has really helped me to connect with my kids.
I love a good workbook to help me really work through an issue. Here are my picks for the workbooks to help you reach your social goals.
The Interpersonal Problems Workbook: ACT to End Painful Relationship Patterns (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) does what it says in the title! ACT is acceptance and commitment therapy, and it has been proven to help people improve their relationships. The skills can be used to improve any relationship – romantic, family (including parent and child), friends, work or anything else. Written by scholars and based on research, this workbook uses worksheets and exercises for users to practise their new skills.
Alternatively, The Communication Skills Workbook provides exercises on a range of communication skills. It uses self-assessment and reviews by journalling for users to reflect upon their learning. Sections include active listening, nonverbal communication, communication skills, awareness and empathy skills, and negotiation skills.
And don’t forget the GoalGetting workbook! Applicable to any goal, this workbook will walk you through the process to success step by step from goal-setting to celebration. Based on the research into what makes people achieve their goals, each step is proven to increase your chance of realising your goals. One step increases your chances by up to 95%! Grab your copy today for just $10 NZD e-copy.
TableTopics Original – 10th Anniversary Edition: Questions to Start Great Conversations is a box of 135 thought-provoking questions to inspire conversation. This makes conversation easy, providing new ideas for topics, or for an ice-breaker. They also have a family version, which is on my wishlist. I’m always looking for ways to get to help the kids open up at the dinner table, and this seems ideal. It also helps them to develop their conversation skills – bonus!
For couples, there is a date night version. Questions include “What do you see as the greatest strengths of our relationship?”, and “If you were to completely switch directions career-wise, what would you be interested in doing?”.
If you aren’t able to talk about the tough issues, but want to open lines of communication, how about a shared journal?
The Just between us: mother and daughter journal is an excellent resource for mums and their teen or pre-teen daughters to discuss issues that matter, and to keep their relationship solid during this often difficult time. With a combination of writing prompts and activities, and free space, this journal is a hit with mums and daughters alike.
Similarly, Mom and me is a shared art journal, perfect for the budding artists out there. It is a brilliant concept well-executed. This cute journal has thoughtful, educational prompts to help your child develop. Engaging in creativity helps them to express themselves and open up. My only reservation is that my artistic skills are not so developed. It may be hard to tell which pictures are by mummy, and which are by the four and six year old!!
For mothers and sons, there’s Between Mom and Me: A Mother and Son Keepsake Journal. And for dads, there’s Draw with Me, Dad!: Draw, Color, and Connect with Your Child.
In Live longer with friends I touched upon the importance of engaging with your company, rather than just sharing the same space. Sitting in the same room on different devices is not enhancing your social connection! But many of us need an activity to focus on, so how about a board game?
Here are a few top-selling games on Amazon:
One of the key factors affecting our social wellbeing is that we don’t have time to spend with friends or family. Whilst I can’t find a product that gives you more time (if I had one, I think I’d be a millionaire!), I can find some tools to help you prioritise and manage your time. Just remember to prioritise social time!
If you’ve been following GoalGetters for a while, you’ll know that I’m a happy planner fan! These planners are very visual, helping you to build visual plans weekly and monthly to support your goals. But don’t worry if you can’t draw (I can’t!), there are a range of stickers you can buy, or you can search images online to print and stick in. There are many other options to customise your happy planner, including add ons for budgeting, fitness, and many more. I find the project management inserts great for goal-planning. Now is a great time to buy, as the latest 18-month range starts from July.
Alternatively, if you prefer a more traditional planner, the clever fox planner is a great option! It has space for goal-setting and planning, for the year, and then monthly and weekly. The only drawback for me is that the space for Saturday and Sunday is half of that for the other days. I organise my paid work separately, so for my personal needs Saturday and Sunday are busier than the rest of the week. Other than that, this planner ticks a lot of boxes for me. It comes in a range of colours to suit your tastes, and it’s not too girly (as many planners can be).
On the other hand, if you prefer a calendar, this one is bright and fun, and starts June 2019.
Or, if you need to keep track of the whole family’s activities, try this family calendar. It has six columns which can represent each family member. We only have four in our family, so I use the remaining two for housework or other jobs to be done. This calendar is for the 2019 calendar year, so it is half complete, but at $9.99 it would be worth it for the remaining six months if you need help organising the family.
Another option that I love for planning is monthly and weekly planning deskpads. These are great if you don’t get around to planning every week or month because they’re not dated, so there’s no waste!
Bloom has a great range of pads to choose from. I like this one, just because it has equal space for all days. But they have others that condense the weekend but include to-do lists and habit trackers, if you prefer.
And don’t forget, the GoalGetting workbook has 3 months worth of monthly and weekly planning templates.
It’s worth getting some coloured pens to use for planning. Then you can colour code different categories, and see at a glance what kind of activity you’re doing. It’s also a very visual way to help you see where your spending most of your time. Make sure you allocate a colour to social goals – and that you’re using it! These fineliners from MyLifeUNIT are my pick.
My final pick for planning tools is the whiteboard planner. Once it’s done, wipe clean and start again! This monthly planner is a great choice, with space to the side for notes, and the corkboard underneath to attach notices.
Or one like this, that’s magnetic and will stick to the fridge. This one has lots of columns, so you can keep track of different people or activities (chores, meal planning etc). It also comes with four coloured pens, so you can categorise further with colour coding.
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