During the past several years and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been rising concerns about social isolation and loneliness as public health issues. Studies have shown social isolation and loneliness are associated with a greater incidence of major psychological and physical health issues. Conversely, several large-scale studies document the protective effects of social connection. So, let’s look at the benefits of socialization.
Socialization can improve our mental and emotional health. Studies show being social decreases depression. Confidence and self-esteem. Spending time with those whose company you enjoy can be confidence-boosting. Being with people we care about helps us to see ourselves as having a place in the world. The feedback we get from those we love boosts confidence and self-esteem. Increased quality of life. Making sure we stay social and connected can not only extend the length of our lives but the quality of them as well. Reduced blood pressure. Studies show loneliness is a risk factor for higher blood pressure.
Socialization is the antidote to loneliness. Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s Dementia. The risk of Alzheimer’s Disease was more than doubled in lonely people compared with people who were social. Boost immunity and other physical health benefits. Studies show socialization can reduce the risk of infections, cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and autoimmune diseases. Increased brain health. Studies have found socialization boosts cognitive function. Promotes purpose. Spending time with others helps us feel useful and that our life has a greater purpose.
When we have something to do, somewhere to go, and someone counting on us, it feels good. Being around people we love makes life more fulfilling. When others count on us, we are more likely to take care of ourselves, and stay healthy for as long as we can. Look at how the Cusick’s girls’ and boys’ basketball teams affected the tribe and the local community. There was energy and excitement felt in almost everyone.
These feelings release a whole cascade of chemicals in the brain that acts like a vaccine protecting you now, in the present, and well into the future. Those high-fives and handshakes release chemicals in you that lowers your stress. Didn’t everyone feel healthier after the tournament?
Friends and family, those who love you and you love are the secrets to a healthy life. So, hug your kids, Go out with friends and family. Help your neighbor. Go to your kids’ games and school activities. Spend time with your parents and grandparents. There are many other ways to socialize, just find the time to do it and get healthier.