Human beings are social creatures. Our connection to others enables us to survive and thrive. Yet, as we age, many of us are alone more often than when we were younger, leaving us vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness—and related health problems such as cognitive decline, depression, and heart disease. And with COVID-19, these issues are complicated further. Fortunately, there are ways to counteract these harmful effects.
Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for various physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.
Conversely, people who engage in meaningful, productive activities with others tend to live longer, boost their mood, and have a sense of purpose. Studies show that these activities help maintain their well-being and improve their cognitive function.
You will be healthier in the long run if you work to maintain your mental health by socializing! It can be easy to isolate yourself, so make an effort to talk to someone daily. Technology like FaceTime and Skype can help even more by allowing you to see your loved ones’ faces.