How does Socializing improve your Quality of Life?
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How does Socializing improve your Quality of Life?


How does Socializing improve your Quality of Life?

Human beings are constantly surrounded by other humans. They are everywhere- at work, at home, and even at your nearest grocery shop. Growing up with so many people around, you get used to their presence. Now, take a minute to reflect on how often you interact with these people. Do you enjoy doing it, or do you feel tired? Who are the people that you like to have around you? The answer to all these questions leads you to one concept- the effects of socializing on your lifestyle. This article aims to bring attention to the way socializing shapes your life. It highlights the benefits of interacting with human beings and serves as a guide on how to enhance these interactions in your life.

Read More: Social Psychology: The Landscape of Human Interaction

Human Beings as Social Species:

You have likely heard the phrase ‘Human beings are social animals’. Well, this is true. Humans thrive on social interactions. These interactions shape a person’s attitudes, behaviours, mind and body. In turn, it affects one’s health, as well as their life expectancy. Being socially well-connected means that a person has built good quality relationships with several people. These relationships are diverse and make humans feel like they belong. Socializing provides a person with love, care and support, all of which are necessary for people to lead healthy lives.

Dunbar proposed the social brain hypothesis which talks about the large brain size of humans (and in general, primates). It correlates the volume of the Prefrontal Cortex and the social network size. This hypothesis explains the social cognitive abilities that human beings have. The amygdala, which is another brain region, is majorly responsible for regulating social information, such as identity or motivation. Further, the amygdala also plays a role in identifying one’s social hierarchical rank. Social relationships are also necessary as it stimulates the release of hormones. These include dopamine, known for pleasure as it facilitates the reward system, and oxytocin, which is the love hormone.

Why should you Socialize?

Being socially connected benefits one’s physical, as well as mental well-being. People who maintain stronger social bonds are 50% more likely to survive than those who don’t. A study by the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Centre, Chicago, states that extremely social seniors have a 70% lower chance of facing cognitive decline due to diseases such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s. Let’s look at some of the many other benefits of socializing.

  • They help in preventing or reducing the risk of illnesses such as strokes or heart diseases.
  • They help by reducing the risk of depression and anxiety.
  • They let you recover from stress due to work pressure or other personal commitments.
  • It helps in increasing one’s quality of life and well-being.
  • Socializing promotes the release of hormones that regulate sleep, improving your sleep cycle.
  • It helps in developing positive behaviours and attitudes in a person.
  • It instils healthy eating habits, promotes physical activity, and encourages brain function.
  • It reduces the risk of suicidal behaviour and aggression.
  • It serves as a solution for boredom as it promotes interaction and engagement.

As a result of all these positive attitudes, the life expectancy of a person also increases, reducing the risk of death due to chronic diseases.

Nature of Relationships:

While socializing is necessary to thrive as a human being, it is also important to realize that the quality of relationships maintained dictates its fruitfulness. If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy interactions with many people, but you realize that you enjoy spending time with a few, then this is why.

Read More: Erik Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development

Socializing and networking is slowly becoming a task, rather than something people enjoy doing. This is because it is used as a strategy to move forward in your career path these days. When socializing becomes a chore, the benefits of it cannot be availed. Thus, you must develop real and meaningful relationships with at least a few people. The quantity of relationships you maintain is not as important as the quality of the select few that you engage in.

Effects of Loneliness and Social Isolation:

Social interaction has its advantages, but not engaging yourself in it has its consequences as well. Loneliness can pave the way to multiple mental health illnesses. Today, loneliness has become very common, with 80% of people below the age of 18 experiencing it, and 40% above 65 years as well. Loneliness can make a person more vulnerable to depression, anxiety or Alzheimer’s, among others. It can also lead to problems such as alcohol addiction or engagement in child abuse. It also elevates blood pressure and stress in people.

People experiencing loneliness are less likely to attain higher education. They are also likely not to care about progression in their work life. With a decrease in the quality of life, work performance also decreases. This has become a major cause for companies experiencing loss as well. A 2019 study by Kassandra Alcaraz looked at data obtained from 5,80,000+ adults. The study found that loneliness increases the risk of premature death, irrespective of the cause or their race.

Read More: Mental Health Among Elderly People

How should you Enhance your Social Connections?

Now that you’ve had a brief look at the advantages of social interaction, it is time that you act on it. If you are someone who does not engage much in building meaningful relationships, now is the time to start. Do not look at it as a task to cross off your checklist, and embrace this experience. Here are a few tips that might help you better engage with the person in front of you.

  • Always Greet People: This will increase the chances of having positive relationships with colleagues and acquaintances.
  • Engage in Conversation: Relationships need to be built on. You must try to engage with people and have meaningful conversations that will let you connect at a deeper level.
  • Find Common Grounds: It is much easier to build relationships with people whom you have something in common with. See if the person in front of you shares your interests.
  • Ask for Advice: When you ask someone for help, you are putting your pride aside. This lets the other person see that you trust them and that you can be vulnerable in front of them, bringing you closer.
  • Be Yourself: The most important of all, this is necessary so you can be relaxed. When you don’t have to put on a façade, you will not feel the weight of engaging in relationships.

Being yourself is the best way to foster meaningful relationships.

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