The 6 Health Benefits of Being Social
Having an active social life may keep your brain more active as well. Research shows staying connected with friends and staying socially active can lead to a longer life, a lower risk of memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease, and better overall well-being.
Yes, staying social may influence how long you live. One study showed loneliness has a big impact on your lifespan, and another study showed elderly people with few social connections had a 50% higher likelihood of dying within the next seven years. Research has also shown women who spend one day a week caring for grandchildren may have a lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s.
Socializing and spending time with friends and family may in fact be essential for good mental and physical health. Here are six reasons why it’s important to be social.
- Boost your immune system.
Highly social people are less likely to catch a cold, and extroverts have the highest functioning immune systems. Social people build up a greater resistance to colds and flu, whereas social isolation isolated can lower your immune system and is a major risk factor for getting sick.
- Lower stress and be more productive.
Good relationships with people who are important to you can lower stress. And if your friends have healthy habits, it decreases your tendency to unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking and overeating. Also, an MIT study found workers were happier and more productive when they took breaks at the same time.
- Fight off depression.
Connecting with others can help improve your mood and feel less depressed. Friends can help you deal with difficult situations and encourage you to take better care of yourself.
- Get better sleep.
Loneliness can cause sleeplessness nights. One study showed more socially isolated people experience an increased amount of nighttime restlessness and disruptions, whereas people with more fulfilling connections slept better.
- Relieve pain.
Something as simple as hand holding with a loved one can lower pain perception and even blood pressure. Enjoyable physical touch, such as hugs or getting a massage can also help reduce pain.
- Reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Social activities can help your heart. Research has shown spending time with friends reduces inflammation and can lower your blood pressure, which can decrease the likelihood of stroke and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.