Social engagement

January 10, 2024 • Brain health

Hispanic Women Talking SmBeing social is important for both our physical and emotional health. We are social creatures, and our brains need connections with others. But social interaction is more than just making friends. It also gives our mind a workout, makes us feel better emotionally, helps reduce stress, and can even keep our thinking skills sharp as we age.

When we talk and interact with people, it challenges our brains. We share ideas, learn new things, and feel like we belong. Even things like picking up on body language or really listening to what someone says help exercise different parts of our brain. All of this can keep our minds quick and flexible, which is known as cognitive agility.

Talking to others can also help us emotionally. It can make us feel less depressed or anxious. Studies have shown that people who are lonely often feel worse. Just chatting about our worries can make us feel better and might even help us find solutions to our problems. Spending time with people we enjoy, like family, friends, or pets, can make us happy because it releases a hormone called oxytocin.

Being socially active can also help slow down memory loss as we get older. When we use our brains to think, listen, and solve problems, we make our brain connections stronger. This strength can help protect our brains from age-related decline.

To help your brain health through social activities, you can:

  • Focus this week on spending time with people or doing things that make you happy.
  • Meet new people by volunteering or joining group activities.
  • If you need someone to talk to and don’t have friends or family available, think about professional options like therapy or calling help lines.

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