Great Reasons to Socialize
No man is an island, is how the saying goes, and we humans as a species evolved with a strong need and reliance upon social contact. According to neurologists, the area of our brain that is responsible for communicating and interacting with other people is very large and well-developed. When we spend too much time alone, our mood and mental health can suffer greatly. This is of particular interest to older adults, who, for a variety of reasons, may find themselves having difficulty maintaining social bonds and experiencing regular personal interactions. While it can be challenging to go out of our way to maintain existing and forge new social connections, it is as critical for our overall health as regular visits with a physician.
- Brain health: Loneliness is dangerous, and not just for the obvious reasons. Extended isolation raises the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, suffering a stroke, or experiencing a fall.
- Immune health: People who have strong social connections and regular meaningful contact with others are more able to fight off diseases and infections.
- Mental stimulation: While puzzles, reading, and games are good brain exercises that can help protect from contracting dementia, they pale in comparison compared to interacting with other people.
- Healthy behaviors: Going out to see people and spend time with them makes it more likely we’ll be outside, getting exercise, and eating adequate nutrition.
- Support: Friends give us people to rely on in times of need, and when the tables are turned, providing that help increases self-esteem and provides a sense of purpose.