Socializing is Key to a Healthy Life

WOOHOO!  It’s Friday and who’s ready for the weekend?

Have you ever opted to stay in on a Friday night or maybe even the whole weekend avoiding being social?  I know sometimes we need rest and me time, BUT did you know social networking enhances your well-being?  Your mind and your body can actually react negatively to not socializing for more than a day.   Are all the introverts cringing, I know I was.  Yes, we are a little shyer and seem to flourish with more alone time than others, but the truth is if you isolate too much, it could lead to loneliness and reduce your quality of life.

Some of the best healthy lifestyle coaches will tell you having a great network of friends and family can boost happiness and health, as well as make you feel more connected to the world at large.

If you don’t make time for social commitments, you can’t build deeper connections with people.  You are at risk of missing out on memorable moments and good fun.  Here are some things which happen to your body and mind when you don’t socialize for more than a day.

1. Poor Self-Esteem

People who continuously isolate themselves day in and day out, tend to develop poor body image and self esteem over time.  Think back to those middle school years, I know for some a painful memory.  The truth is that a girl’s self-esteem peaks at the age of 9 years old and only 4% of women describe themselves as beautiful.  Something as simple as socializing could make a difference.

2. Depression

Studies show depression can be associated with isolating yourself and not socializing for more than a day at a time. Now, I am not advocating going out to happy hour every day, but it’s important to talk with co-workers, phone a friend, or attend a fitness class, so you can see people you know and care about during the day.  Believe it or not,  if you don’t, your mental health could suffer.

3. Loss Of Reality

According to an interview published in the Huffington Post, if you binge watch TV shows (of any kind of show) when they come to an end, it can trigger depression.  Why?  The inability to decipher between fiction and personal reality and when you tune into media too often it can interfere with the brain.  Personally, I think it would take a whole lot of BINGE watching.  What do you think?

4. Body Chills

Did you know you can literally feel chills from isolation in social circles.  If you aren’t surrounded by warmth and comfort, and you are isolating yourself regularly, you might notice a decrease in body temperature and increase in body chills.  Okay, I am ALWAYS cold so I am not sure I buy this one and yes I am an introvert.

5. Decreased Ability To Learn

Studies show lonely people are less able to do well with puzzles and mind games, due to the rewiring in the brain. I do puzzles ALOT to help re-wire my brain from the MS lesions and seem to do just fine.  Doing a puzzle with a friend would definitely be fun but I do enjoy the quiet time with my puzzles.

6. Decreased Sense Of Empathy

A research study shows people who are lonely are less empathetic than happier, socializing people, when shown pictures of pleasant and unpleasant scenarios.  According to this, when you isolate, you’re changing your brain and may hinder your ability to feel and love as well as others can.  Lonely = less empathy?  I always thought you would have more because you could understand the feelings others are having in unpleasant situations.

7. Inflammation

Did you know when you isolate, it lowers your quality of life which can cause depression and stress, which then shows up in the body as inflammation. Inflammation can lead to bloating, increased risk of illnesses, digestive issues, and inability to function.  Or it could be symptoms of a bigger problem?

8. Shorter Life Span

According public health professor at the University College London, being socially isolated for more than one day can lead to a shorter life which actually means dying at a younger age.  I have heard of people dying from a broken heart but it is usually when someone they love has passed away.  So, do we die from the isolation or the fact we are sitting on our butts, eating junk and not physically active?  Think about it, aren’t you more apt to be social when you are feeling good, after a walk or some type of physical activity?

9. Reduced Resilience

Whatever your reason for isolating, remember social interactions are crucial for a person’s happiness. Close, loving relationships and social interactions lead to the development of resilience, coping skills, and higher self-esteem. We all want to have high self-esteem, right?

Now, don’t shoot the messenger because I am not sure I agree with all of these things.  I do believe staying home too often, not being around people (family or friends) can have a negative impact on your life.  Talk a walk and interact with people.  It’s worth getting out more and making plans with friends, family, and co-workers.

Being around people and having close connections can be such a joy in life, so try to embrace it and find a happier balance between solo nights and those with others.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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