Discover the importance of staying connected with friends and family.
After you’ve spent time talking with a relative or good friend over the phone, you might feel a boost in your mood. It turns out, these boosted feelings are also good for you! The potential health benefits of social connections include emotional, mental, and even physical advantages.
In case you need any extra reasons to give the important people in your life a call, let’s explore these seven health benefits of social connections:
- Boost your immune system
- Reduce stroke risk
- Help you handle stress and pain
- Improve your cognitive health
- Battle loneliness and depression
- Motivate healthy living
- Extend your lifespan
If hearing loss makes phone calls difficult for you, see our selection of captioned hearing loss telephones here! Now, let’s explore these health benefits of social connections in more detail.
Boost your immune system
Taking a regular dose of “Vitamin Friendship” and keeping in touch with the people who are important to you can help stave off illness! Research shows that people with strong social support may also have increased positive impacts on their cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and immune systems.
Reduce stroke risk
There has been a lot of specific research dedicated to the link between social interaction and stroke risk. There are other factors at play when it comes to stroke risk, of course, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. But individuals with a network of family and friends they stayed in contact with regularly had a potentially lower stroke risk and better recovery rates than those who reported a lack of strong social support.
Help you handle stress and pain
Social support can make a huge difference when you’re going through a stressful time in life or enduring a physically painful health issue. Just seeing someone face-to-face and having physical contact (when COVID-19 restrictions allow, of course) — be it a high-five, fist bump, or hug — can release oxytocin (known as the happy hormone) and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone). Your partner’s touch can even act as a painkiller.
But what about when we’re unable to gather in person? Research shows that socialization and reaching out to others in general, even over the phone, can help reduce our stress levels in several ways. Socialization increases anxiety-relieving hormones, helps us channel our energy outward, can distract us from what’s troubling us, and helps us to feel cared for and included – which can help protect us from future stress. All the more reason to pick up the phone!
Improve your cognitive health
Simple conversations with people are a great way to keep your brain active and your memory sharp. As you talk, you’ll naturally remember interesting facts and anecdotes to share, draw on your vocabulary, come up with jokes or wordplay, etc. And an active brain is a happy brain! Research indicates that people with higher social interaction levels have a decreased risk of dementia as they age. And just 10 minutes of talking to another person, whether in person or over the phone, has been shown to improve memory.
Battle loneliness and depression
Throughout history, humans have thrived when living in communities, so it’s no surprise that too much isolation can negatively impact both our physical and mental health. Loneliness has been associated with increased risks of premature death, heart disease, depression, and anxiety. So, staying connected and socializing with others does so much more than just boost our mood and make us laugh — it can go a long way in keeping us healthy!
But what about when we can’t be together physically? Don’t worry, you can still enjoy the health benefits of social connections through telephone and video calls!
Studies have shown that older adults who use technology to ward off loneliness report fewer chronic health conditions, lower depression, and feeling like their overall health and well-being was better than those who weren’t as connected.
If you’re experiencing hearing loss and feel like reaching out to friends and family isn’t as easy as it once was, check out these ways to combat feelings of isolation with hearing loss.
Motivate healthy living
Research shows that our behavior is influenced by the people we spend the most time with. Nourish connections with friends and neighbors who inspire you to live a healthy lifestyle. Plan socially-distanced nature walks together, share healthy recipes, start a book club — there are plenty of ways to stay active and create good habits with a buddy by your side!
Extend your lifespan
With a good collection of friends around you, your life can be happier and more prolonged. This benefit of social connection can potentially follow naturally from the others. When you’re healthier and more protected against various health issues, there’s a good chance you’ll have lower overall mortality risks as well!
If all these health benefits of social connections inspire you to expand your social circle, check out our tips for meeting new people as an older adult. Don’t forget to put regular effort into strengthening your existing friendships too!
Even if you’re separated by distance, there are ways to stay connected and support one another. CapTel captioned telephones can make phone calls more accessible than ever if you, a friend, or family member have hearing loss.