While the days are getting shorter, don’t let that keep you from connecting with friends and family. In fact, it may be more important than ever during the holidays and winter! Staying social is more than a “nice-to-have” — it’s actually life giving.
No one wants to feel lonely, yet a growing number of us — about half of all Americans — say we feel isolated. In fact, some leaders such as former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy are calling it a loneliness epidemic. “As a society, we have built stronger Wi-Fi connections over time, but our personal connections have deteriorated,” he said.
It can be difficult to connect with others. It can be messy, and friendships sometimes don’t meet our expectations. Still, there are three powerful reasons to invite people into your life. Those who regularly connect with others:
Live longer. Researchers have found that loneliness can be as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. In fact, staying isolated can lead to an earlier death.
Keep sharper. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) confirms there are many cognitive benefits to staying connected.
Feel better. According to the NIA, social activities: correlate positively with good health; may lower interleukin-6, which is associated with age-related diseases; may lower blood pressure; and help stave off depression
Easier said than done? Here are a few ways to get or stay connected:
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
– C.S. Lewis