Human beings by nature are pack animals, meaning we naturally form groups and use one another to survive. We are social animals, and of course, you’ll have people who prefer to be alone rather than around groups but on a general scale, humans tend to be social. Being social is how we learn and develop our skills as we get older. Even our most basic skills and responses are learned from interacting with others. This is not to say that we need to be around people all the time, and we don’t to be around people on a large scale, but socialization is very important to people throughout their lives and on a consistent basis. Scientifically there are benefits to socializing.
You May Live Longer
People with more social support tend to live longer than those who are more isolated, and this is true even after accounting for your overall level of health. The saying that your “friends keep you young” is not just a saying. Not only does socializing with loved ones help you live longer, it gives you something to live for. It’s easier to get through life and life’s situations when you don’t feel alone and when you have a good reason to not give up.
Better Physical Health
Social engagement is associated with a stronger immune system, especially for older adults. This means that you are better able to fight off colds, the flu, and even some types of cancer. This might sound weird, but being exposed to other people’s germs and bacteria helps your body to create an immunity to fight them off making your immune system stronger. Not to mention people tend to be more physically active when socializing. You’re moving a lot more than you realize when you’re around someone.
Better Mental Health
Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. Research has shown that one sure way of improving your mood is to work on building social connections. It’s no surprise that you want to be around your friends or loved ones when you’re feeling down. Getting around people who care about you helps you to feel like you’re not alone. You likely receive support, encouragement, advise and great memories that will help you get past whatever situation you’re in.
Lower Your Risk of Dementia
More recently, there has been accumulating evidence that socializing is good for your brain health. People who connect with others generally perform better on tests of memory and other cognitive skills. And, in the long run, people with active social lives are less likely to develop dementia than those who are more socially isolated.
More and more people are feeling the effects of loneliness and not doing anything about. It can be hard to get together with friends, it’s not as easy to get away from your burdens and seek companionship but it’s important. If you’re ready to feel better, pick up the phone and call a friend.