Being Social: How Being Social Can Boost Your Health
Aug 15, 2017
We all enjoy socialising and making friends – even the most introverted of people. The desire to seek out our own kind is something that’s biologically programmed into each and every one of us, and for very good reasons. Now there are the obvious ones – it’s fun, it decreases loneliness and it makes us feel more connected to the people around us. But did you know that there are other, more health driven benefits to being around other people? For example, studies have shown that people who frequently socialise may live up to 50% longer and be generally healthier than those who don’t. But how?
It Reduces Stress And Depression
According to research conducted by the University College Dublin, simple socialisation can help alleviate the symptoms of stress, depression, anxiety and isolation. They discovered this by taking a sample of people who had been receiving treatment for mental health problems for some time, and giving them additional supports to increase their social activities over a 9-month period. By the end of the study, all participants reported feeling better about themselves, having more confidence and experienced reduced symptoms. Their experts say that this is because “increased social interaction helps sufferers to rebuild their self-esteem which in turn enables them to maintain and develop positive relationships and friendships.” This may not seem that impressive, but the same results have been produced time and time again by dozens of researchers – socialisation is good for your mental health.
Lower Your Risk Of Dementia
Carrying on with the mental benefits for a minute, there has been a huge amount of evidence suggesting that participating in social activities is also good for general brain health. People who connect with others on a regular basis generally perform better in memory and other cognitive tests and in the long run have been shown to be less likely to develop dementia than those who are more socially isolated. Experts believe that this is because socialising is a similar mental activity to completing a daily crossword puzzle or other mental exercise. It keeps your neural pathways active and working, meaning you are less likely to suffer degenerative disorders. In other words – socialising is great for your memory!
Improved Physical Health
As well as being great for your mental health, socialising can have huge benefits for your physical health as well. Social engagement has been associated with a stronger immune system (thanks to exposure and resistance to all of those germs), especially in older adults. By socialising with other people who carry different bacteria, you build up your tolerances, so you can better fight off colds, the flu and other viruses. Socialising has also been shown to improve your quality of sleep. Research from the University of Chicago has found that people who are more socially isolated experience more night-time restlessness and disruptions, even if they aren’t aware of their own feelings of loneliness.
So there you have it – socialising is not only a fun way to spend your free time, but it can help you live a happier, longer and fuller life. At Thames Valley Spice, we believe in creating memorable, adventurous experiences for people of all ages, genders and backgrounds, so that anyone can enjoy the benefits of socialisation. So if you’re looking to make new friends, have new experiences and generally enjoy some more social time, check out our events calendar or get in touch with us today to find out how we can help.