Socializing For The Soul
For some of us, socializing may seem like something that is so common in our everyday lives. Whether that be spending time with friends, catching up with family, or chatting with co-workers. For others, it may seem completely daunting and something to avoid. But what might not be so obvious is how important socializing is. Social connection is fundamental to the way we as humans function, and it’s for good reason.
At our core, we are social animals. The need for social behaviour is crucial to survival. A 2011 study acknowledged the need for socialization goes back to our primitive years, humans needed other humans for the fundamentals of life such as finding food, shelter, and warmth. This is rooted in the importance of belonging to social groups as a form of survival. As we evolved, so did the need for socialization on a more complex level. A 2013 study stated that socialization is crucial for survival and beneficial for humans in several ways.
Socializing with others provides a way to form connections and bonds with social groups. These social groups may be family, friends, co-workers, sports teams, or really any group where socializing occurs. The importance of these social groups gives us a sense of belonging in life. This sense of belonging is so important to provide not only comfort and support but help us find meaningful connections that add to our life satisfaction – giving us a sense of purpose.
Socializing is essential for improving mental wellbeing. The social connection allows us to express our emotions, thoughts, and experiences with others. Holding all these in can leave you feeling isolated and disconnected. Socializing helps to connect humans through shared emotions and creates a sense of validation and understanding between individuals. As a result, socializing can decrease depressive feelings and boost your mental wellbeing. It is always a positive thing to have someone to share your life with!
Socializing is also beneficial for your physical well-being. Psychologist Susan Pinker stated that physical contact with others is associated with neurotransmitters being released that contribute to the regulation of anxiety and stress. Beyond this, socializing where physical touch is involved, such as hugging another person, also helps to release oxytocin. The hormone oxytocin is responsible for developing bonds and trust with others. Oxytocin is also associated with reducing levels of cortisol, helping to lower feelings of stress.
The effects of socialization have also been shown to improve brain power and immunity. Without even realizing it, spending time with the people you love can boost your physical health and help you feel less stressed.
Socializing is evidently good for the soul through an abundance of factors. Socializing boosts mental well-being, allows for a sense of belonging and higher life satisfaction, and it even helps our physical health too. For some people getting this essential social connection comes easy and is done without really thinking about it. Getting some socialization every day is extremely beneficial to creating a happy and healthy lifestyle. A few ways you can try and get your daily dose of socialization in is to;
Go on a walk with a friend
Spend time with a family member
Have lunch with a co-worker
Join a social sports team or club
Video call or phone a friend or family member from a distance
Grab a coffee with a loved one
Have a potluck dinner with a group of friends
Although socializing may be a seamless activity for some people, and something to look forward to, others may find it extremely difficult, especially when social anxiety comes into play. Social anxiety is an anxiety disorder that occurs when an individual experiences constant and excessive fear of situations that involve social aspects. This fear can cause individuals to avoid social situations which they feel could result in judgement from others or embarrassment. It is also common for those with social anxiety to experience panic attacks because of social situations. Social anxiety can range from being scared to being in crowded places or even having a short conversation with someone. As a result of social anxiety, individuals are highly inclined to avoid any social situations and as a lot of daily activities involve some sort of social interaction, this can result in major isolation and disruption to everyday life.
Social anxiety can seem like a daunting and impossible fear to approach. If this sounds like something you may be struggling with, you might want to take our free Social Anxiety test to see where you stand with social anxiety. Another way to begin the journey of overcoming social anxiety is with exposure therapy. Exposure therapy has been clinically suggested to treat social anxiety. It works by slowly exposing you to social situations where anxiety may occur and helps you to create coping strategies and ways to manage the anxiety that may arise. At oVRcome you can access exposure therapy from the comfort of your own home. When you sign up to oVRcome’s Social Anxiety exposure therapy programme you will receive a VR headset and complete programme equipped to treat social anxiety.