How social interaction affects us and why you might be feeling different with social distancing.

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Did you ever notice that throughout the world humans tend to gather and group together. The earth is vast, yet most people choose to live in close proximity to each other.

Take New York City for example, although it offers a constant exciting vibe as if there is always something to do or see, it is still a cramped city with expensive real estate prices, lots of traffic yet people love living there.

It's not just an observation but real science. Humans need to be social and feel better when in close proximity to each others.

Think about it, some people complain about their neighbors and the traffic in their town yet hardly anyone picks up and says I am moving to Montana in a town with a population of 100 and living there.

There are studies that show that people who are more socially active tend to live longer than those less socially active.

In a study of 7,000 men and women in Alameda County, Calif., begun in 1965, Lisa F. Berkman and S. Leonard Syme found that “people who were disconnected from others were roughly three times more likely to die during the nine-year study than people with strong social ties,” John Robbins recounted in his marvelous book on health and longevity, “Healthy at 100.”

This major difference in survival occurred regardless of people’s age, gender, health practices or physical health status. In fact, the researchers found that “those with close social ties and unhealthful lifestyles (such as smoking, obesity and lack of exercise) actually lived longer than those with poor social ties but more healthful living habits,” Mr. Robbins wrote. However, he quickly added, “Needless to say, people with both healthful lifestyles and close social ties lived the longest of all.”

In humans, one of the most social species, social connection is essential to nearly every aspect of health and well-being. Lack of connection, or loneliness, has been linked to inflammation, accelerated aging and cardiovascular health risk, suicide, and all-cause mortality.

Adults require connection (physical or emotional) with other humans to release certain hormones like oxytocin. Human touch is so important that when we are young, our brains don't develop correctly without it.

What should I do to feel better with social distancing?

Social distancing is affecting you more than you realize. Fortunately, there is a way that you can easily socialize without needing to be outside.

Try to set up a regular schedule where you call your friends and family just to talk. The better option is to do video chats, these chats can give a more realistic feeling of connections. The conversations don't need to be long, a few minutes is enough. Be consistent about it and you will notice that you are happier after talking with someone.

I hope this virus will go away soon and we can all get back to our normal social routines.

Stay safe!


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