Importance of Social Interaction to Health

Category: Healthy Living


Posted on July 2, 2021

Scott is passionate about health and wellness, and enjoys writing on various topic surrounding these fields. Scott lives in Seattle and spends his free time restoring old furniture and playing pickleball with his friends.

importance of social interaction

Are you a person who likes a lot of social interaction, or do you prefer to be on your own?

The people you surround yourself with can have an effect on your well-being. Studies have shown the roles peers can play in the long-term health of others and the importance of social interaction. 

Read on to learn about the health benefits of positive relationships. 

Importance of Social Interaction

Humans have been together and relying on each other for millions of years. To survive as a species, we need to socialize with one another. That's how society keeps moving forward. Societies shape our personal identities.

Shared experiences and the need to work together form social bonds. Those social bonds, whether positive or negative, have an impact on your health. 

Being social and having a strong network of peers is vital to your life. It's essential for your physical and psychological health. Relationships are important for well-being.

Social Interaction has many benefits. It not only brings joy but can guide long-term health. 

Happier people have strong social support from family, friends, and their community. Someone with a strong social circle may have fewer health problems and live longer.

There are many benefits to having good emotional support. It helps in the reduction of stress, depression, and anxiety. It can raise your self-esteem and give you a purpose in life. 

Belonging Brings Security

Friendships can keep you motivated to fulfill your desires. They also help with trust, empathy, and openness. You also have someone to talk to and confide in. Even introverted individuals need social interactions. 

Family, friends, and community can have an effect on your biology and wellbeing. Positive social connections help you live a better and longer life. 

If you have someone to turn to, it fosters a sense of safety, belonging, and security. Social interaction benefits your mental health. This, in turn, can impact your physical health. 

People who have a diverse group of social ties tend to live longer. They tend to belong to different groups to suit different needs. 

People with a lack of social ties have a higher risk of anxiety and depression. That lack of strong relationships increases the risk of premature death.

25% of adults seek therapy for loneliness because they have no one to confide in. One-third of adults 45 and older feel lonely. One-quarter of adults 65 and older suffer from social isolation. 

Loneliness and Social Isolation

Loneliness is the feeling of being alone, regardless of the amount of social contact. Social isolation is the lack of social contact, which can lead to loneliness. 

Many elderly suffer from social isolation. As you grow older, your family and friends may pass away, which can lead to you being alone.

However, social interaction is very important for seniors. It can help with their physical and mental health while boosting their immune system. Being social keeps your brain active. 

Adults who are connected live longer than peers who are not. 

Parents and Children

Parents also need a good support system, especially with young children. A stay-at-home parent can find themselves alone and isolated. They lose their old social ties and their sense of who they once were, and some days the only social interaction they have is a crying baby. 

The stress this causes mentally is immense. Parents need to connect with others. It's vital not just for their mental health but also for the children's mental health.

One of the most important social ties is parents and their children. Parents have a huge effect on their children's mental well-being. Stressful family life can have a negative impact.

During adolescence, we face so much peer pressure in an effort to be liked by our friends. Teenagers with close friendships do better in school and have higher self-esteem. This can lead to lower anxiety and higher self-worth later in life. 

Effects on Health

Lack of social ties can lead to increased depression and anxiety. It can also cause cognitive decline later in life and may lead to dementia. 

Social isolation can lead to insomnia, which can lead to impaired function. This leads to accelerated cognitive decline. 

Loneliness increases the likelihood of mortality by twenty-six percent. Lonely people also tend to get more common colds. 

It can elevate stress and inflammation which can weaken the whole body. The lack of strong relationships increased premature death by fifty percent.

Disease Risk

No social engagement can increase the risks of diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and high blood pressure. It can also hinder cancer recovery and slow wound healing. 

Social isolation has been linked to poor survival rates in people with coronary artery disease. 

In one study, human leukocytes had inflammation and a decrease in antiviral response. This study also showed long-term fight or flight hormones, which can have negative effects on the immune system. 

Social Isolation can raise the chance of premature death in all cases. 

Lack of social connection is as bad as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day or if you had alcohol abuse disorder. It's also two times as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity. 

The risk of death is higher in those with fewer social ties. 

Stay Connected

Social isolation is equal to people with high blood pressure and lack of exercise. All these can lead to risks of early death. 

Social ties can reduce death among those with severe medical conditions. It can help improve memory and protect the brain from degenerative diseases. 

One study into super-agers and those in blue zones show the impact of social living. Their diets and lifestyles vary. The thing that they all have in common is that they all have active social lives. 

Maintaining close friendships and community help prevent mental decline and aid in health—even if you only get together for a few moments to talk about the stresses of the day. 

Sustaining close friendships over the teen years has been shown to have positive effects. You may have lower levels of depression and anxiety as you age. 

Being connected can also help with healthy habits. People who exercise in a group have lower levels of stress. They also have better physical and mental well-being. 

Be Social

People who take part in social activities have lower rates of type 2 diabetes. Those individuals that do not join in activities have a much higher rate of type 2 diabetes. 

Having a variety of social relationships can help reduce heart-related risks. These connections may also give you the ability to fight off germs and leave you with a positive outlook. 

Physical contact can trigger hormones and brain chemicals. These hormones can make you feel good and have biological benefits. Even simple hand-holding or hugging can trigger these. 

There is a lower rate of college freshmen who have supportive peers. They do better if they have someone to turn to.

Marriage and Health

Of all relationships, marriage is the most studied social bond. There are many health benefits when married. 

Some benefits are longer life and lower risks of stroke and heart attacks. You may also have a lower chance of becoming depressed. 

As a married person, you are more likely to catch cancer in its early stages and survive longer. You are also more likely to survive a major operation. 

Why is this?

Happy relationships seem to have a stronger immune function and lower cortisol. Married people take fewer risks and eat healthier. They also tend to keep their regular doctor appointments compared to single people. 

This does not mean that a marriage will get you these health benefits. If you're in an unhappy stressful marriage, you're actually worse off than a single person. Especially if that single person surrounds themselves with supportive family and friends. 

The benefits of marriage are more evident for men than it is for women.

Why is this the case?

For women, a large family network does not always lead to better wellbeing. These networks can place more duties and problems on them.

They are usually the caregivers and have more responsibilities in and out of the home, especially towards middle age. They usually have to take care of children, their spouses, and aging parents. 

Men do better with a large number of family and friends. Family networks don't place the same burdens on men as they do on women. 

Not All Relationships Are Good 

Social relationships, for the most part, are beneficial, but there are some that can be toxic to your health. 

It's not about the number of relationships but the quality of them. You could be surrounded by people and still feel lonely. You may also feel fulfilled with one person if it's a quality relationship. 

Poor marriage quality is a prime example. It can cause a compromised immune system and harm your physical health. It can cause stress, which leads to increased heart rate and blood pressure. 

These stresses can lead a person to partake in unhealthy behavior, such as drinking, over or under-eating, and smoking.

Stresses in relationships can make you feel like you've lost your personal control. It can also damage your mental health and that can lead to poorer health. 

Risky Behavior

Other social relationships can have unintentional negative health results, such as if your network of peers engages in risky behavior. 

If your peers drink alcohol or smoke, you may feel more inclined to do so. Having an obese partner or friend also increases your risk of being obese. 

Increasing Social Interactions

So you want to try to combat loneliness and social isolation?

There is not a simple cure for loneliness because there is no single cause. People can be lonely for many different reasons. 

Humans are social creatures that want to connect. Try promoting existing relationships. Schedule a call or meeting with a friend. 

Social media is great for reconnecting with people you might have lost touch with, but don't stay online. That can give you a false sense of connectedness. Physical in-person contact is needed. 

What are your interests? Baking or reading? Look for groups out in the community to join. Common interests can foster great friendships. 

Volunteering is another way to combat social isolation. Helping those in need could also help your well-being. 

Finally, starting a job and meeting new people could help for more interaction.

Meet People

If you're looking to expand your social circle, then break from your comfort level. If you're in a place where you know people but not well, engage with them. Branch out from your circle of friends.

Many find social interaction within their church or community. You can say hi to people you do not know. It'll get you comfortable talking to strangers and it may even help you find new friends.

Be more likable or pretend to be. You may not feel it at first, but the more you do it, the more it becomes normal to you. 

Smile and look at people when talking to them. Speak with confidence and ask questions about them. Get to know people over a few conversations, and don't be shy to talk about yourself. 

Consider Therapy

When feeling lonely or overwhelmed, don't forget to ask for help. The importance of social interaction is paramount during this time.

Contact a therapist to talk to and work on your mental health. Talk to your loved ones and explain how you are feeling. Maybe connecting will increase the interaction. 

When feeling stressed, you can exercise or try to use the benefits of meditation.

Being happier and living longer should encourage even introverts to get out and be around others. Use the tips of socializing and combat your social isolation. Your physical and mental health depends on it. 

Increase Your Social Interaction Today

As you can see, the importance of social interaction on your health is immeasurable.

Make an effort to stay connected to your friends and loved ones. Just reach out to one person a day and watch your life unfold in new and meaningful ways.

Also, don’t be afraid to explore all your options with your doctor today. There may be a certain medication out there that can help you lift your spirits as you make these important life changes.

Here at PricePro Pharmacy, we help Canadians order their prescriptions at discounted rates.  

Speak to your doctor and we’ll see if we can assist you with our wide range of prescriptions at unbeatable prices. 

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