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Better social life = Better life

Better social life = Better life

As humans, we are built to be together and function better when we work as a team. At our core, we are social animals, and it is in our best interests to build and maintain strong, supportive social connections. Without other people around us to add some spice to our lives, our day-to-day existence can appear harder and duller than what it needs to be. This was made especially clear during the Covid 19 pandemic. While it was necessary to practice social distancing and isolation to stop the spread of the disease, it affected many people negatively, leading to more mental health issues and an increased feeling of loneliness and discontentment with life. Our connection with other people is so vitally important for many aspects of our health and wellbeing. Having some support during tough times, or when we are trying to build a healthy habit can make all the difference.

Take exercising for example. It can be hard to consistently exercise at the best of times, but particularly when you are just starting out, or when it hits the colder months of the year. By exercising with someone or joining in on a group activity can not only help with accountability, but it can also make what you are doing seem a lot more fun and can push you to places you never thought you would get to. Granted, many people prefer to exercise by themselves, which is completely fine, but adding in some social activities and workouts here and there can help to break up the normal routine and give a boost to motivation. Plus, it opens your mind to new experiences and presents potential opportunities for growth and further development of social connections.

The same can be said about food. Many of us struggle with eating well, and we often struggle alone. By enlisting the help of friends and family and potentially seeking guidance from health and fitness experts, you can build a supportive team that will help to make whatever challenges you are facing easier to deal with and increase your chance of making permanent, healthy dietary changes.

The Mediterranean diet is touted as being one of the best ways of eating for good health and longevity. There is now research to show that it is not just the food, but the Mediterranean lifestyle that contributes to a long, healthy life.  In countries like Italy, Greece and Spain every meal is a chance to socialise. Family and friends from all generations prepare food and eat together. Nothing is rushed, food is savoured, and social bonds are created and strengthened. This shared experience has been shown to lead to more happiness and contentment and to reduce stress and rates of anxiety and depression.

An important take away here is that these positive effects are primarily seen in face-to-face interactions. Recent research has suggested that using social media to socialise merely slows down the rate of decay of personal connections and that people tend to be unsatisfied with interactions through online platforms. The clear message here is that if we want to build meaningful, supportive connections with other people, we need to regularly interact with them in person, not through a screen.

Finally, as we age, being connected with other people can better all aspects of our health. There are many studies that show how important being social can be for warding off age related disease and rates of loneliness and depression. Being social can quite literally save your life, and it is in everyone’s best interest to build and maintain good relationships so that we all have the potential to live longer, happier and more fulfilled lives.


1. Dunbar RIM. Do online social media cut through the constraints that limit the size of offline social networks? Royal Society Open Science. 2016;3(1):150292.

2. Georgousopoulou EN, George ES, Mellor DD, Panagiotakos DB. Chapter 6 – Mediterranean lifestyle: Linking social life and behaviors, residential environment, and cardiovascular disease prevention. In: Preedy VR, Watson RR, editors. The Mediterranean Diet (Second Edition): Academic Press; 2020. p. 67-71.

3. Newman MG, Zainal NH. The value of maintaining social connections for mental health in older people. The Lancet Public Health. 2020;5(1):e12-e3.

4. Pantell MS, Shields-Zeeman L. Maintaining Social Connections in the Setting of COVID-19 Social Distancing: A Call to Action. Am J Public Health. 2020;110(9):1367-8.

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