Not everyone can be an extrovert. Some of us are just as happy to curl up on the couch with a good book as we are to grab coffee with a group of friends. We may not all derive the same joy from being around others, but we all have our own ways of being social.
We introverts have to be careful. We live in an extroverted society. Social interaction is, by and large, dictated on the terms of the hyper-social. We may not like crowded areas with lots of noise. We may get overwhelmed with too many of our friends in the same place. All of this is perfectly normal, just so long as we don’t let an extroverted social scene stop us from social interaction. After all, being social is one of the best things you can do for your health, so long as you do it in a way that makes you happy. Here are three reasons being social makes you healthier.
1. You form better habits.
There is significant scientific research that shows how social interaction can help you improve facets of your life that are crucial to your health. Eating with others is a great way to form a healthier diet. Exercising with others has proven to be more effective in forming an active routine than pounding the pavement alone. Forming good habits is one of the most important ways to become healthier, and the science is in: We form better habits when we are with friends than when we are alone.
2. You are happier.
Happiness is anything but a science. Everyone must find their own path to fulfillment and meaning. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few tried-and-true methods that make you significantly more likely to find joy. Social interaction is one of them. One of the biggest threats to the health of seniors is depression. As this article from the Minnesota Star Tribune, which discusses a study about this very subject, points out, “In seniors, social isolation is more of a threat than diabetes in the development and control of high blood pressure.” Often, aging comes with feelings of loneliness or isolation. With a good friend by your side, you can fight these all-too-common sentiments together.
3. Quite simply, you live longer.
The study we just mentioned had a conclusion even further reaching than, “isolation is harmful to seniors.” According to the scientists, social interaction is vital for the health of people of all ages. “Doctors, clinicians, and other health workers should redouble their efforts to help the public understand how important strong social bonds are throughout the course of all of our lives,” the study reads. Social success is key to preventing conditions that threaten your health.
But this is the great thing about friendship: it can start at any time, and when you’ve made a connection strong enough, not even time or distance can thwart a genuine connection. Science has given us a gift with these findings. We all need friends. If we find the right ones, they might just end up saving our lives.
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.