What is your idea of a healthy lifestyle? You may think it would be going to the gym every morning before work, going on a balanced and clean diet, and getting 8 hours of high-quality sleep. What else can you wish for in terms of a healthy lifestyle if you’ve got exercise, nutrition and sleep along with a bit of leisure time? Well, it’s easy to overlook this one but surprisingly, your social life plays a big part in both your physical and mental well-being.
Studies show that receiving social support from a friend, family member or spouse is essential in achieving better mental health. On the other hand, a lack of social interaction could lead to adverse health conditions such as insomnia, anxiety and depression.
Why you need meaningful social interactions
Social interactions are an integral part of human nature. But what really matters are the meaningful social interactions you engage in. Good friends are good for your health – they stay with you through thick and thin and most importantly, they're there when it's time to celebrate! Friendships can help reduce stress and make you happier.
Simply having someone who has your back, one you can comfortably talk to while basking in their company, can mean the world. Did you know a warm hug can be a real mood booster? Hugs can make you feel happy by releasing dopamine and oxytocin which is known to improve happiness and relieve stress.
Being socially active can lead to healthier habits
Social connections especially when you're around health-conscious people can help you stay mindful of your lifestyle. Joining a group that exercises together can also improve your commitment. When you exercise with others, you're more likely to give it your all, knowing that there others challenging themselves alongside you. Researchers have found that working out in groups can lower stress by 26% and significantly improve quality of life.
The loneliness epidemic
The loneliness epidemic is real, especially in a technology-driven era when everyone around us is practically glued to their phones. The issue of loneliness became even more prevalent after the pandemic caused lockdowns all over the world, and people began realising that their social life plays a big role in their happiness.
Our priorities change along with our commitments as we get older, and it is likely that socialising no longer remains a priority – keeping our social circle small and intimate. By retirement age, you may be faced with the issue of not having a social life outside of your family, which is why many seniors experience this loneliness.
Live a happy and more fulfilling life
Enjoy the ties that you hold dear to. Meeting your friends and family members every once in a while is a great way to unwind and de-stress.
Try maintaining your social connections by taking time to check in on your friends even if the both of you have drifted apart due to family or work commitments. Is a busy schedule really more important than your social life? Maybe take 10-30 minutes off your work week to have coffee with some friends as your way of recharging! You may then realise how essential a robust social life is to your health.
It's never too late to reconnect or even make new friendships! It's never too late to pick up your phone to ring that dear friend you miss talking to!