Why Is Socialization Important for Brain Health?

Socialization is Important for Brain Health

Our brains need more than the air we breathe and the food we eat. Those are important for survival, sure. But in order to stay healthy and truly thrive, our brains need socialization. As human beings, we crave interactions with others and need that engagement to stay active as we age and progress through life. Find out why socialization is so important for your brain health and different ways to stay social, even if you can’t interact with others in person.

How Socialization Helps the Brain Stay Active and Healthy

Social interaction has been a major part of cognitive development from the day you were born. Early relationships and interactions with parents, siblings, friends and teachers taught you how to speak, interpret and express emotions, and expand your knowledge.

As an adult, socialization is just as important in keeping your brain active. Building social networks and participating in social activities are like exercises for your brain because they keep your mind agile and improve cognitive function.

Socialization can even help prevent mental decline and lower the risk of dementia. A 2017 study published by researchers at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that individuals 80 and above with the mental agility of 50-year-olds all had one factor in common: A close-knit group of friends.

Mental Health Benefits of Socializing

Not only does socialization play an important role in cognitive function, it also is necessary for maintaining your mental health and keeping you happy. Even just occasional social activity can:

  • Lower Stress Levels. Participating in social activities like group exercise classes, group walks or clubs encourage healthy lifestyle habits and can take your mind off stressors in your life better than activities you do on your own.
  • Decrease Depression and Anxiety. Close and supportive relationships with family and friends can improve your self-worth, lower depressive symptoms and help you feel accepted. When you have people to lean on for emotional support and do enriching activities with, you’re less likely to struggle with depression and anxiety.
  • Improve Overall Life Satisfaction. When you have close friends and family to interact with and spend time with every day, you’re more likely to feel happy and fulfilled. A 2016 study published in Psychology and Aging found that people who are socially active throughout their lives tend to report higher late-life satisfaction.

Socialization Activities that Your Brain Craves

If you don’t consider yourself a social butterfly or if you struggle in social situations, that’s okay. It only takes occasional social activity to reap the above cognitive and mental health benefits, and you can choose social activities that are most comfortable for you.

If you’re looking for new ways to socialize, try the following activities:

  • Have Daily Facetime or Video Chats with Family and Friends. If social distancing or another reason prevents you from seeing others in person, set up daily video chats to talk with your children, grandchildren and friends over the phone.
  • Dine with Loved Ones. Instead of eating alone, why not have lunch or dinner dates with family and friends? Meals are the perfect time for lively and enriching conversation.
  • Do you want to make a difference in your community while interacting with others? Find a volunteer opportunity that offers you a chance to meet new people or participate with friends. At Asbury, we offer on-campus volunteer experiences where you can volunteer with other residents and make new friends.
  • Join a Club or Organization. Whether you’re into reading, games, sports, cooking or knitting, there’s most likely a club or organization for it. Joining these types of organizations at your local senior center or at senior living communities like Asbury can help you do what you enjoy with other like-minded people.*
  • Participate in Exercise Classes. Exercising as a group or with another person helps keep you motivated and makes the activity more enjoyable. Even if you’re not a fan of exercise classes, bring a friend with you to the fitness center so you can both socialize as you walk the track or cycle. At Asbury, all of our communities offer fitness centers and exercise programs to help you stay fit and socialize with other residents.

Enjoy a Social and Fulfilling Retirement at Asbury

At Asbury, you can anticipate a retirement lifestyle full of activity, socialization and purpose. We offer countless opportunities to make new friends, strength your current family bonds and do more of what you enjoy. Learn about our independent living communities and contact us today.

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