Whether you prefer small, intimate gatherings or you’re more of a fan of loud, boisterous parties, most of us enjoy spending time around our friends.
We know that socializing is fun, but what many people don’t realize is that spending time around other people can also play a role in your health.
Having a solid social network has been shown to have a impact both physically and mentally, and it is often lauded as the key to a long and healthy life.
Next time you feel guilty about meeting your friend for dinner instead of hitting the gym, you might want to think again. Here are six reasons why spending time socializing is good for your health.
1. You’re Less Likely To Catch A Cold
Highly social people are less likely to catch a cold, according to a study from the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology. Their research found that extroverts have the highest level of immune-system functioning.
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2. You’ll Fight Off Depression
Sometimes when you’re feeling down, the last thing you want to do is to go out and socialize, but research from the journal Mind, Mood & Memory shows that connecting with others helps improve your mood and fight off depression.
And when it comes to socializing, face-to-face interactions have more of an impact than emails or phone calls when it comes to mental wellbeing.
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3. You Get Better Sleep
Having trouble sleeping at night? Your loneliness may be to blame. Research from the University of Chicago found that people who are more socially isolated experience more nighttime restlessness and disruptions, even if they aren’t aware of their feelings of loneliness. The more fulfilling connections people had with others, the better they slept.
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4. You’re More Productive
Here’s a reason to go to lunch with your coworkers or to meet a friend for coffee during your break: A study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that workers were more happy and productive when they went on breaks at the same time.
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5. Your Brain Stays Sharper
Active socializing delays memory loss as we age, according to research from The American Journal of Public Health. Strong social ties can preserve our brain health, as social interaction can help keep us mentally engaged.
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6. You’ll Live Longer
If you’re looking to live a long and healthy life, start surrounding yourself with good friends. A study from Bringham Young University found that people with social relationships live 50 percent longer than people who are more socially isolated.
Friends can not only help you deal with stress and act as a buffer to its effects, but they can also encourage you to take better care of yourself.
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