Being Socially Active Supports Your Mental Wellbeing

We as human beings were born to be socially active; it is in our DNA. It’s a mistake to think that most humans prefer the solitary life that so much of the modern-day world imposes on us. When we’re connected, sharing thoughts, stories, feelings, and helping those around us, it can all play a part in our sense of positive wellbeing and belonging.

Socialising can provide several benefits to your physical and mental health. Did you know that connecting with friends may also boost your brain health and lower your risk of dementia?

Social Activities and Hobbies

Research shows these main benefits of having an active social life:

You may live longer. People with more social support tend to live longer than those who are more isolated, and this is true even after accounting for your overall level of health.

You will enjoy better physical health. Social engagement is associated with a stronger immune system, especially for older adults. This means that you are better able to fight off colds, the flu, and even some types of cancer.

You will enjoy better mental health. Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. Research has shown that one sure way of improving your mood is to work on building social connections.

You may even lower your risk of dementia. More recently, there has been accumulating evidence that socialising is good for your brain health, people with active social lives are less likely to develop dementia than those who are more socially isolated.

Hands up Mental Health First Aid Oxford

A good start is to make a list of all the hobbies and activities that you can think of, don’t worry whether you like them just yet, simply list those you can think of. Then, go through them to see which ones you can physically, mentally and emotionally do? It still isn’t yet about liking or disliking though. What are you left with? Which are you more comfortable with trying? How about making a plan to try it? You may find you love it!

When you have been and tried something, that is when you can more confidently make a decision on whether you like or dislike it. Experiencing different activities can be a great way to connect with others and to learn more about yourself.

Ideas To Get You Started

Use Zoom, Skype or Facetime to catch up with family and friends.

Invite a friend over or meet them at a local café.

Arrange a film night for you and some friends / family.

Check out local events near you and go along to one.

Attend religious services at your church, synagogue, or temple.

Discover your creative side, try painting, singing in a choir or playing music.

Volunteer at your favourite charity organization.

Participate in a neighbourhood or community group.

Play a group sport like football, rugby, golf, or cricket.

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Understanding Your Limits

If you experience high stress, anxieties, confusion or mood swings, you’re not going to feel like going out like you used to at times or if at all. It’s intensely frustrating for you and for your friends and family, to realise you don’t feel up to doing the things you used to take for granted.

You could give in to these feelings and remain isolated or you could almost force yourself to go out with your friends and keep your social life going. However, whilst we should push ourselves at times, get out of our comfort zones and face our anxieties head on, there is a balance to be had, which begins with knowing your limits. When can you push yourself to go out or know, that honestly, it would do more harm emotionally if you were to and then allow that to be ok. Know your limits, try things, experiment with various activities, hobbies and social functions, to discover what your limits are.

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