Importance of Socializing for Brain Fitness
Modern-day neuroscientists would agree that we need to engage and remain connected with others as part of our mental health and brain fitness. Numerous studies show that our brain fitness is positively impacted by frequent social interactions and that by adding socializing to our daily mix of physical exercise, healthy eating, solid sleep and brain training, our mental acuity is sure to improve too. This research also demonstrates that it is important to maintain rich, social relationships in order to help prevent mental disease.
In addition to helping prevent mental health conditions, some research suggests that socializing can improve your memory and ability to think more clearly. One such study by Oscar Ybarra of Michigan University found that there was a direct link between social interaction and improvements in the functions of brain performance. The study monitored 3600 people’s phone usage to analyze the length of each call as well as the relationship of the person on the other end.
According to Heather Gilmour of Statistics Canada, social engagement - defined as the involvement in meaningful activities and maintaining close relationships - is a key component of healthy aging. Those individuals that have an extended network of friends tend to have higher self-esteem, take better care of themselves and feel that they have more control over their lives. Having positive relationships also adds purpose and deeper meaning to our human experience. Statistics Canada further states that it may be that social support gained through social contacts is as important as the number of activities in which one participates in frequently. Gilmour adds, “the greater the number of frequent social activities, the higher the odds of positive self-perceived health, and the lower the odds of loneliness and life dissatisfaction.” CBC News - Health.
In this respect, building time into your daily routine to stay connected with friends is seen as a positive step towards maintaining a healthy mental attitude. If you don’t have a large support network, develop new social connections by getting involved in various groups and activities. Feeling part of a community adds meaning to your life. Zoomer.
- Build new social networks
- Join a community centre
- Take up a social activity such as bridge, dancing or a book club
- Do volunteer work
- Look into support groups in your community if you are going through some challenges
In summary, countless studies have shown maintaining rich, meaningful relationships and social interaction are key ingredients - along with exercise, good nutrition, and lifelong learning - in the recipe for cognitive fitness.